The ninth-day of the eighth regular session of the second Amyotha Hluttaw was held yesterday. The Hluttaw approved the motion urging the union government to implement proper agricultural practices (GAP). Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw answered questions raised by the MPs, a report was read, and a motion was discussed and voted on by the assembly.
Actions taken against improper land use
U Aung Myo of Sagaing Region constituency (2) asked whether there were plans to investigate the certificates to use the farmland (form-7) that were issued, as well as the illegally acquired certificates to use the farmland (form-7) used for embezzling agricultural loans.
The deputy minister replied that certificates to use the farmland were issued for all levels of Administrative Body of the Farmland, in accordance with section 3 to 14 of Chapter (II) under the 2012 Farmland Rule. He said it would take considerable time, staff and finance to investigate every form-7 issued across the country. Therefore, the forms are usually only scrutinised when their illegal use is evident, or a complaint or suspicion is submitted.
Similarly, agricultural loans are scrutinised when the Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank requests a review due to a suspicion of embezzlement. Offenders are charged with breaking the Civil Servant Law and Rule.
The deputy minister explained that inexperienced part-time workers were hired when issuing a large number of certificates to use the farmland in a relatively short time. He said farmland area calculations were based on old colonial maps, which led to multiple corrections when issuing permits to farmers.
No amendment made to bill amending TV, broadcasting law sent by Pyithu Hluttaw
Next, Amyotha Hluttaw Bill Committee member Daw Nan Ni Ni Aye read the committee’s report on the bill amending the Television and Broadcasting Law, sent with amendments by the Pyithu Hluttaw. The committee considers the amendments made by the Pyithu Hluttaw to be sufficient and, therefore, have not added any additional amendments and suggested to the Amyotha Hluttaw that they accept the bill without making any changes.
Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than then announced that MPs interested in discussing the bill could enrol their names.
Lawmakers urge govt to promote GAP nationwide
The MPs then discussed a motion, tabled by U Hla San of Magway Region constituency, urging the union government to implement the GAP system for the country’s agricultural sector.
Dr. Win Myint Chit of Bago Region constituency (8) said that for the GAP system to be successful, there must be proper adherence to the administration, from the most basic aspect of choosing a proper farmland to storing crops, as well as documenting all steps of the process for reviewing and training purposes. He said this would ensure that agricultural products are safe for consumers and trading. He suggested establishing stores that sell GAP agricultural produce in every city and providing GAP training at agricultural education centres.
Tatmadaw MP Major Ye Aung Saw said the GAP guidelines must not be mandatory, and it should be up to farmers to decide the guidelines and practices best suited to them. He suggested that the relevant ministries and government organisations should restore farmland, acquire modern agricultural technology, ensure appropriate crops are grown on the most suitable soil, provide land-use permits to the local people for virgin lands, penetrate the international market and conduct continuous research for improvement.
The motion was further discussed by three MPs, followed by Deputy Minister U Hla Kyaw explaining that the GAP protocol was implemented to ensure high-quality crops are produced for the market. He said the staff of the agricultural department would need additional training to carry out the GAP regulations on a nationwide scale. The deputy minister also agreed that it was important for farmers to accept and use the GAP system as they thought best. He explained that due to a limited budget, the authorities were unable to provide every department with proper equipment and are, therefore, carrying out procedures one step at a time.
He added that the authorities were disseminating information about GAP practices to build a strong foundation among the country’s citizens. The deputy minister then said that his ministry supported the motion, as it had an encouraging effect upon their work. The motion was put to a vote and approved by the Amyotha Hluttaw by 186 votes for, one against, and two abstentions.
The Amyotha Hluttaw session will continue on 1 June.
Aung Ye Thwin