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Myanmar Government Plans to Address Land Use Issues for Livestock Breeders



According to the Farmland Law of 2012, using farmlands for any purpose except farming is prohibited. Penalties and fines for non-compliance could include six months to two years of imprisonment, a fine ranging between K300,000-500,000, eviction, or the loss of on-site assets. This has caused problems for those who wish to breed livestock or fish, and who need valuable land space in order to carry out such work.

The Protecting Rights and Enhancing Economic Welfare of Farmers Law was enacted in 2013 in an attempt to alleviate some of the issues the previous law created. For example, it was to create a committee comprised of members not only of the government, but also representatives from farmer associations so that they could help enforce many of the “protection” segments of the law, as its very name stated. However, it was not a perfect solution for the issues.

Having received numerous and repeated requests to solve the dilemma from civil organizations like the Myanmar Fishery Federation in the years since, the government is now trying to tackle the issue head-on. As the plan has been submitted to the relevant Parliamentary Committees, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation expects change to come soon.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Dr. Khin Zaw, said: “Livestock breeding is an important sector. It plays a big role in reducing poverty in our country. Therefore, the Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation is putting his best efforts into solving the issue for the livestock breeding sector.”

If a livestock breeder wants to use their farmlands for a purpose other than farming, they will need to reapply for permission. However, the Myanmar Livestock Federation says that they will request the government to simplify, streamline, and speed up the land application/approval process.

Another option the Ministry is considering is allowing fish breeding by having the fish farmers pay fines. The government is also planning to adopt a Land Use Policy to make investments in the livestock breeding sector more attractive; it will tackle all the land issues – such as using farmlands for other purposes, or the use of uncultivated lands – through clear, precise new policies.

In order to accomplish that goal, government officials are studying the land use policy of neighboring countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and China.