Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The National Unity Party (NUP) is encouraging farmers to form associations to lobby the new government for farmers’ rights, with the intention to introduce a bill in Parliament to give farmers the right to own their land.
Members of the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMDP), the Nationalities Democratic Party (NDP), the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) and the National Democratic Force (NDP) said that they would support such a bill.
NUP central executive committee member Han Shwe said that the Constitution allows people to organise reprehensive associations, so farmers should work to attain greater rights.
‘We need to form unions for farmers and workers’, he said. ‘Farmers need to make their voices heard via associations. Through Parliament, we can encourage farmers to participate in the processes of developing the country.’
Currently, Burma only has associations such as the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Myanmar Rice Industry Association and the Myanmar Rice and Paddy Traders Association.
There is no broad-based, national organisation which speaks to farmers’ needs, said Han Shwe. Such an organization is needed to help negotiate with farmers on what type of bill is needed, he said, one which grants individual farmer’s rights, but which also can prevent market domination leading to a monopoly in some commodities.
Similarly, Nai Ngwe Thein, the AMRDP leader, said that his party would introduce a Parliamentary bill to allow farmers to own their farms.
SNDP Vice Chairman Sai Saung Si said that his party would support the AMRDP’s bill.
‘Currently, farmers face many problems because they do not own their farms. And there are many jobless people. Farmers have no opportunity. If they had more opportunity, and they can own their farms, they will be more innovative’, said Sai Saung Si.
Khin Wine Kyi, an MP in the NDP, said that she would support such a bill. ‘That is a well-deserved right of farmers’, she told Mizzima.