August 18, 2016

Food is a sine qua non

The following is unofficial translation of the message sent by President U Thein Sein of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on the occasion of the Peasants’ Day which falls on  2 March 2016.—Ed

To the esteemed peasantry,
Today is the auspicious Peasants’ Day on which the historic occasion is marked to honour peasantry across the nation. On this auspicious occasion, I wish all the peasantry physical and mental wellbeing and great success in agricultural farming.
Our government, elected for the first time by the people of the Republic of the Union Myanmar through the multiparty democratic system, will turn 5 years old in a few days. Now preparation works are underway to transfer the duties of the State to the government elected by the people during the second election.
As Myanmar is an agrarian based country which has to rely mainly on the agriculture sector, it is a must for us to focus on the progress of the agricultural sector to improve the socio-economic life of the peasantry which constitutes over 70 per cent of the population.
The duty to ensure the development of socio-economic life of the peasantry has been directly linked to the duty to cement the national strength.
During the five-year tenure of our government, better foundations – providing more agriculture capital, supplying hybrid seeds, disseminating advanced farming technologies to farmers enabling them to use the techniques in the place of conventional methods, transforming conventional farming into mechanised one, implementing river water pumping projects and dam projects — have been laid.
We will transfer the duty of ensuring development of the agricultural sector to be carried out throughout the nation to the next government in a systematic manner to meet more success.
As the development of paddy, which is staple food of the country, is related directly with food security which is daily consumption, the government was able to improve the hybrid paddy strains, thereby increasing the per-acre yield significantly and doubling the income of farmers.
For the surplus of crops including rice from the domestic consumption to be able to compete in the international market, post harvest technology has been applied to manufacture the value added products.
The basic needs such as the wholesale markets have been opened in the private sector to enable the farmers to sell their products in the nation and export them through price competition.
It is essential for the farmers to have access to modern farming technologies and with this end in view, the tasks of educating farmers are being carried out together with providing weather news and information about markets and prices in a timely manner. For the farmers’ relaxation the entertainment programme namely “Song Competitions to Honour Farmers” has been introduced along with the education programme, “Farmers’ Channel” through television.
Esteemed Peasantry,
No one can deny the fact that food is a sine qua non for human. As the world population has increased year after year, it is estimated that it will reach 9 billion by 2050 from the current number of 7 billion. To satisfy the needs of these populations, more food needs to be produced.
At such a time, attempts are to be made to make sure that world food production is not to be disrupted by natural disasters such as global warming, extreme weathers of heat waves, cold waves, torrential rains, snow storms, tropical storms, earthquakes and Tsunami, and man-made disaster, wars stemming from the greed of mankind.
Having an insight into these problems, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar should pay attention to contributing to the fulfillment of world food needs in addition to domestic food security for the sake of generations to come.  To achieve this end, farmers are to be encouraged to accelerate their crop production, thereby penetrating foreign markets.
With favourable land and water resources plus weather condition combined with the strength of farmers, Myanmar is in a position to fulfill the needs of the world food security. Feeding the world is not only the noble act of pursuing the national interest but also committing good deeds.
Esteemed Peasantry,
The long term goal of Myanmar’s national interest is to promote socio-economic gain and enhance the interests of farmers. We firmly believe that the next government will inherit the fine traditions and follow the good examples the current government has set in promoting the agricultural sector during its five-year tenure as these are the relentless efforts of the current government for the national interests.
Let me take this opportunity on this auspicious occasion of the Peasants’ Day, to urge the entire peasantry to strive for the accomplishment of the goal of national interest and of their own hand in hand with the entire citizenship.


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