Can loans alone resolve the issues faced by farmers? What about technical support to farmers for land challenges related to climate change?

Amyotha Hlutaw (National Parliament) discusses agricultural issues

Nay Pyi Taw, 12 May — Amyotha Hlutaw session on Tuesday focused on questions on agriculture sector and Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation U Ohn Than responded to the questions. One of the representatives asked whether the government has plans to suspend one year to repay agricultural loans in Kyangin and Myanaung Townships in Ayeyawady Region as farmers there did not earn enough from failed crops due to shortages of rainwater and adverse weather conditions.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation U Ohn Than said that Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank may suspend loans when crops are damaged due to natural disasters and losses are reported to the bank on time. Although the bank can suspend loans with the recommendation of local authorities at different levels, new loans will not be available for farmers who fail to repay their old loans under the rules and regulations of the bank, the deputy minister added. In addition, the farmers may be subjected to interests and fines as Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank has to borrow money from Myanma Economic Bank to issue loans for farmers, according to the deputy minister. Concerning the questions to fulfill requirements for the central agricultural farm in Mahlaing in Meiktila District, the deputy minister said that it is impossible to irrigate the farm form Konte Dam as it is located at a place higher than the dam. A hand pump well is being used for small scale agriculture in the farm, according to the deputy minister who added that a dry lake in the farm will be repaired before the coming rainy season.

As for the lease of farmland, the deputy minister said that it is possible to rent land according to the provision of the farmland law.

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Thank you for posting this @nyinyilwin - to get the conversation started, could you share what you think about this? What are the types of technical supports that could help, and what are the types of land challenges that farmers are experiencing as a result of climate change?

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That’s a great question @nyinyilwin! As we can see in this example from Myanmar’s Parliament, the government is looking to loans to combat a wide range of agricultural issues - but more may be needed! Similarly, within legal empowerment efforts, we may be able to address major challenges of farmers - land access and tenure security, for example. Yet to promote sustainable livelihoods, farmers may also need technical support on farming techniques or other assistance to protect against weather and climate issues.

How have other legal empowerment programs navigated situations where clients need much more beyond legal assistance? Did the program expand to offer non-legal assistance? Did the program link to other available services? If so, how?

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