Some 70 representatives of farmers’ organizations and civil society organizations from different parts of Burma gathered during a three-day meeting in Rangoon this week to hold the first of a number of discussions on the government’s new draft national land use policy.
Millions of small-scale farmers in Myanmar risk losing land under proposals to regulate land use which focus too much on investment and not enough on people's livelihoods, a Netherlands-based non-profit think tank warned on Thursday.
About 40 ethnic activist groups are calling on the government, ethnic militias and the international community to address a surge in land-grabbing, as companies move into Burma’s ethnic regions following recent ceasefire agreements.
The release of the draft policy, part of a process towards enacting a new National Land Law and “harmonising” existing legislation, was greeted with objections and criticism from farmers’ organisations and ethnic minority groups throughout the country.
A briefing paper jointly published earlier this month by the Netherlands-based think tank groups has asserted that new ceasefires that have been signed since 2011 have further facilitated land grabbing in conflict-affected areas where large development projects in resource-rich ethnic regions have already taken place.
New data shows that less than one-quarter of the area of large-scale land concessions awarded to businesses since 2010-11 is being used for agriculture. This raises “serious questions” about the government’s land use policies.
This assessment is in response to the 6th draft of the NLUP, released in May 2015, following months of public and expert consultations. It outlines some of the key positive and negative points of the new draft.
Shifting cultivation is a form of agro-forestry in which the cultivation of annual agricultural crops is combined with fallowing long enough for trees to grow before the plot is cultivated again. Why is shifting cultivation so controversial, and why do different stakeholders hold such divergent views - for some a valuable and honourable tradition but for others virtually a criminal activity?
After a spout of optimism surrounding Myanmar’s so-called democratic transition in the post-2010 period, more recent work by CSOs and academics have emphasized the rampant and violent processes of land and ocean grabbing that this transition is facilitating. Drawing on a case from Northern Tanintharyi in the Southeast of the country, this article attempts to historicize contemporary accounts of these grabbing processes.
Jennifer Franco, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Hannah Twomey
16 February 2015
Myanmar's National Land Use Policy promises to make profound changes to the current economic, social, and political-institutional landscape. This is an important and bold step, but its impact will depend on how it addresses the often “messy” details of actual land based social relations.
Jennifer Franco, Hannah Twomey, Khu Khu Ju, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer
28 January 2016
“Land is like our vein; it is vital for our living. After our land was confiscated, we don’t know what to do for our livelihood,” says a farmer from Kachin State in Myanmar. Today many inhabitants of rural communities in Myanmar live under threat of losing their lands in a battle for resources spurred by ethnic conflict, exploitative land laws, and powerful economic actors. The existence of a legal right to the land does not translate into that right being respected in practice, and people across the country are now working to protect their right to the land.