August 19, 2016

Loans elude fish farmers who lack land ownership documents

Workers catch fish at a farm. Photo: Myitmaka News Agency
Workers catch fish at a farm. Photo: Myitmaka News Agency

FISH farmers are facing difficulties obtaining loans for independent fish-breeding activities as fish ponds in Myanmar lack land ownership documents, according to the Okkar Maung Livestock and Fisheries Production and General Trading Cooperative.
“Seventy-five per cent of fish breeding enterprise expenses go toward [fish] feed. Independent fish farmers in Myanmar are currently having a spot of difficulty in securing loans from State-owned and private banks as they are unable to show a land grant for their fish ponds. If the government were able to issue land grants, then fish farmers would be in a position under which they could approach fish feed processing plants to acquire feed through a credit-based system. They guarantee repayment by showing their land grants,” explained U Myo Aung, chairperson of the aforementioned cooperative.
Fish farmers, for the most part, do not currently possess land grants. As such, those involved in digging fish ponds on farmland are at possible risk of having their land confiscated, which would hamper their fish breeding activities in the long term.
“The government would be able to collect taxes from the fish farming industry were it to issue land grants. That is why I would like to earnestly urge the new government to provide this as soon as possible,” U Myo Aung continued.
Since 1990-1991, the last documentation that the government issued was the La Na 39, a legal document granting the holder rightful ownership land use. Although there was talk that Form 30(a) act would be included within the newly enacted farmland legislation in the manner of La Na 39, this has yet to be realised.
There are over 200,000 acres of fish farm ponds within Myanmar.


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