June 29, 2017

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Message of Greetings sent by President U Htin Kyaw, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on the occasion of the Peasants’ Day Celebrations which falls on 2 March 2017

Dear esteemed peasantry,
Today is a historic and auspicious day which has been designated to honor all the peasants in the country. On this day full of Mingalar and historic significance, I wish to send my message of greetings and good wishes for the health and happiness and blessings for auspiciousness for all the peasantry. In addition I also send good wishes for great success in their farming work.
Although 70 per cent of our country’s population live in the rural areas and their main occupation is farming, and although 30 per cent of the GDP is from the agriculture sector, the majority of peasants have enjoyed very little benefits and the status of their socio-economic life is low.
As a result of related effects such as climate change, natural disasters and other dangers, deforestation and weaknesses in soil management, the majority of the peasants have low incomes and this has affected their socio-economic life as well.
That is why for the development of the agriculture sector, we need to formulate sound policies and strive hard to implement them for the advancement of the socio-economic life of the peasantry.
The building of peace and tranquility and socio-economic advancement is considered by our government to be our goal as well as our duty and we have been working in that direction. During the 10 month period of our government, we have been working towards the goal of developing sustainable agriculture and for the increased production of agriculture and livestock products that would be able to compete internationally. Furthermore, we have laid down (11) goals for food security, ensuring nutritional value in food and food safety, for the peasants to be able to enjoy their rights fully, and increasing foreign and local investments in the agriculture sector. Also, in working for the fulfillment of these goals we have adopted policies for increasing the production capacity of the agriculture and livestock sector, and at the same time to increase the income of peasants with small plots, advancement of the socio-economic life of rural people and sustainable development.

Dear esteemed peasantry,
As Myanmar is a country where agriculture is given priority and the economy is based on agriculture, to give protection for peasant’s rights and to increase their benefits, a law for the protection of peasant’s rights and increasing their benefits had been passed. Furthermore, a leading committee for the protection of peasant’s rights and advancement of their benefits had been formed and had been working in accordance with the   adopted policies.
Just as we have been working hard to increase agricultural production by farming multiple crops on farmland that had to rely solely on rain water introducing irrigation farming, we have also been collaborating with local and foreign organizations to educate peasants on how to grow crops that grow well in specific regions, crop patterns, and farming methods.
We have been undertaking maintenance and repair of projects for utilizing river water and irrigation dams, demonstration classes on how to use water effectively, systematic development of mechanized farming, production of good quality seeds for effective utilization, implementing projects on a wide scale, production of high quality export produce, prevent contamination, preventing losses due to late harvesting, and providing technical skills and know how. We have been laying down firm foundations for the above practices to be successfully distributed to the peasants.
In addition demonstration model plots are being created for educating peasants; also opportunities are being created for peasants to collaborate with agricultural experts for setting up experimental plots for the cultivation of seed strains, crop varieties, and cultivation methods that grow well in their respective regions.  These activities are being carried out at the same time in tandem in a states and regions.
The Union government has already permitted peasants to grow crops that are compatible with their regions. In order to ensure that peasants get more income, efforts are being made to secure firm prices in local and foreign markets not only as primary products but as value added products. We have been giving encouragement in this matter. Also, we have been working systematically for the creation of “Wholesale Markets” to ensure that our produce will get firm prices, more income and stable markets at home and abroad.

Dear esteemed peasantry,
We have been working very hard and making effective and concerted efforts to mobilize peasants with small plots to form themselves into agricultural cooperatives. For latest methods in agriculture and the latest news about the weather, market news and entertainment programs to get into the hands of farmers on a real time basis, the Government and private media companies are broadcasting the news. Now that mobile phones are in the hands of every one, the latest news are being disseminated via these mobile phones.
The world’s population has been increasing daily and the current population of 7000 million will become 9000 in the year 2050. That is why we need to produce the required food in greater quantities. For our country also, in preparation for the increase in population in the years ahead, we have been working hard on all fronts with high momentum with the aim of not only securing internal food security but also for export to international markets.
Based on the advantages we have because of our rich land resources and water resources, and good climatic conditions combined with the unified strength of our peasantry, this is an opportune time to work for all round development including the agricultural sector. This is also an opportune time for uplifting the socio-economic life of the peasantry.

Dear esteemed peasantry,
In conclusion, for the long-term national interest of all Union citizens and including the interest of all the peasantry living in our country, I urge all of you to march towards our ultimate goal in unison while exerting equal efforts and meeting all challenges and obstacles that may lie ahead. With these words I send this Message of Greetings.
(Unofficial Translation)

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