Govt eyes contract farming on 200,000 acres in Myanmar

rice_7_0 Farmers at work in the paddy fields. Photo: EPA-EFE

05 JUN 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times - The government is helping farmers negotiate contract-farming deals with agricultural companies on 200,000 acres for this year's growing season, senior agriculture official said.

U Ye Tint Tun, director general of the Department of Agriculture, said the deals are being negotiated with members of the Myanmar Rice Federation.

"We have started negotiating with the farmers and companies to implement contract farming agreements on 200,000 acres," he said on June 3.

The department is coordinating the scheme, which is aimed at boosting agricultural production to improve farmers' incomes, and keep them from falling prey to loan sharks due to a lack of capital.

"We're negotiating with them on what to grow, how to supply them, and how to buy," said U Ye Tint Tun.

Contract farming aims to share the risks between the farmers and the companies if the crops are damaged by conditions such as climate change and drought.

The federation said it has reached an agreement with the farmers to carry out contract farming.

"We believe contract farming would be beneficial to both parties in the future, and we want to cooperate in implementing it," U Ye Tint Lwin said.

He said he hope contract farming would make farmers more self-reliant and would help eliminate the practice of buying agrochemicals on credit and paying back the loans after the harvest.

The government formulated nine rules for farmers, 10 for agricultural companies, and nine for the government to regulate contract farming.

The rules for farmers include obtaining land use certificates, working collectively in at least a group of five, and knowing the provisions of a contract.

The rules for companies, businesses owners, and associations include providing quality input, fixing premiums agreed by both sides, and using a record-keeping system. If farmers lose crops through natural disasters, the contract must be renegotiated.

The rules for government include ensuring that contracts follow the law, educating and giving technical assistance to farmers, and issuing certificates for produce.

U Ye Min Aung of the federation said that as long as a contract is enforceable, there should be no problems. "Farming agreements must be enforceable," he said.

The agricultural sector accounts for over 38 percent of Myanmar's gross national product. – Translated

Myanmar Water Journal - May 2020
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