Vice President U Henry Van Thio, the head of the Leading Committee for the Protection of Farmers Rights and Promotion of Interest, has called upon rice traders and farmers to control the quality and food safety standards for rice to ensure the ability for farmers to compete in markets, pledging that the Union Government would work to increase international rice quotas through government-to-government negotiations.
Speaking at the Myanmar Rice Federation’s Annual General Assembly and Annual Meeting at the Mandalay Convention Centre yesterday, the Vice President said, “It is important for farmers, companies and businessmen to cooperate in the contract farming system, and have confidence, as the government is fulfilling the basic needs of farmers and the private sector, such as working through the Myanmar Rice Federation and NGOs, along with INGOs, which are cooperating with the government in helping farmers,” said U Henry Van Thio.
The Vice President expressed thanks to the Myanmar Rice Federation for declaring floor prices for rice last year at a similar conference in Nay Pyi Taw, saying that the move prevented the exploitation of farmers. “Based on the success achieved last year, we are planning to form the “Rice Market and Price Assessment Working Body” as part of efforts to build a better system,” said the Vice President. “If the floor price for rice is declared before the cultivation season every year after calculating systematically, this can bring enormous benefits for farmers,” said the vice President.
While encouraging the PPP system, in which the government and private sectors are involved, the government has drawn up strategies to carry out tasks for contract farming, lessons, directives and procedures for setting standards, he said.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio also urged businessmen in the rice sector to step up their efforts to review contract farming systems, and to release guidelines and standard operation procedures.
Myanmar has earned over K1000 billion per year from rice export, as the rice export sector remains the most important business in the country.
Myanmar has reported the highest rice export volume in its 73 years, with 3.5 million tons of rice sold during the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year.
Meanwhile, since 2016 the government has increased agricultural loans from K100,000 to K150,000 per acre, in a bid to raise the incomes of farmers.
The Vice President also said the government has relaxed restrictions on insurance businesses to attract foreign investment, and is planning to provide a climate-based crop insurance system to farmers.
The government is systematically managing and conducting farmland utilizations and permission in accordance with laws and rules to use vacant, fallow and virgin lands were being granted to those who really want to conduct agriculture works. Laws on farmland, protection and uplifting the lives of farmers were being amended in order to be appropriate for the time and era.
Myanmar Rice Federation is also learnt to be consulting and discussing with legal experts and Hluttaw representatives to draw up the Myanmar Rice Law for sustainable development of the rice sector and effective public-private cooperation.
SME loans, investment and post-harvest facilities to be systematically and swiftly reviewed
Government and private sectors are urged to cooperate and coordinate in systematically and swiftly reviewing SME loans, investment and construction of storage and drying facilities and modern rice mills, Agro Service Centers in regions required for rice sector development. The government will provide support according to law and procedures. Local and foreign investments are to be raised in value-added works. By products rice husk are not to be wasted by making rice husk briquettes. By conducting waste to energy, rice husks will play a role in filling the country’s electricity requirement. This will also solve the problem of hard to rid rice husks. Government departments and experts are urged to cooperate in drawing up and submitting to the government an Action Plan on reusing similar wastes and attract local and foreign investment.
Government had drawn up, enacted and implementing Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) for all round sustainable development. Of the three pillars of MSDP, Pillar 3 – People & Planet is related to food produced including rice and agriculture products. As a future is to be aimed for, participation of youth and new generation is to be created without fail. Ways need to be opened so that experiences and lessons learnt are combined with the capability, modern views, thinking and innovation of youths. Only then can the development be sustainable.
Development of farm sector and socio economic of farmers could not be conducted singled handedly or a single group alone. Farmers need to systematically follow methods that increase yield and income while government and departmental officials are to provide quality services. Finally the Vice President wished that may all the new generation people establish a strong and everlasting rice industry.
Next, Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr. Aung Thu and Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung explained about Myanmar rice sector development matters.
After Myanmar Rice Federation Chairman U Chit Khaing spoke words of thanks, Vice President U Henry Van Thio posed for commemorative group photo with ceremony attendees and inspected the Myanmar Rice Sector Development exhibition.
From there Vice President U Henry Van Thio accompanied by Union Minister Dr. Than Myint and officials went by cars to Mandalay-Myotha Industrial Garden Myodaw Project in Mandalay Region, Myingyan District, Ngazun Township and were explained about the project by officials in the project temporary briefing hall.
After the explanation about the project, the Vice President went to Long Year Shoe Factory in the industrial garden where officials explained about the factory.
Later the Vice President was briefed about Myotha Industrial Garden Myodaw Project, Simikon (Ayeyawady) port and international level golf courses by Mandalay-Myotha Industrial Development Public Co., Ltd. Chairman U Aung Win Khaing and Managing Director Dr. Tun Tun Aung in Mandalay-Myotha Industrial Garden Myodaw Project briefing hall.
In response to the briefing the Vice President said the project will benefit the region and the country must be systematically and successfully conducted so that it can be an exemplary and model project for central Myanmar. Job opportunities for the people will be created once the project is completed. Preservation and maintaining of the natural environment also must be done so that factories in the project systematically dispose waste waters and refuses. More trees, both short and long life, are to be planted the project becomes a Green City, said the Vice President.
After signing the guest books, the Vice President went by car to Myotha National Golf Course and inspected the project model and the golf course. — MNA (Translated by AMS, Zaw Min)