Kachin MPs say banana farms are cheating people out of land

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Kachin MPs say banana farms are cheating people out of land

Two Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House) legislators from Kachin State accused banana companies of cheating people out of their homes and land in the state.

U Zakhung, MP for constituency 3 in the state, said Chinese businessmen are using local companies to grow bananas in Kachin.

“Chinese businessmen are engaged in growing bananas through local companies,” he said.  “We heard that there is only one (Chinese) company that has permission.”

U Min Swe Naing, who represents Kachin’s constituency 6, urged authorities to take action against banana companies that illegally grow tissue-cultured bananas.

“It should warn companies and businessmen to follow the law regarding growing tissue-cultured bananas,” he said.

There are hundreds of thousands of acres of tissue-cultured bananas in Waingmaw, Bhamaw and Momauk townships in Kachin.

Farmers accuse the plantations of damaging the environment by using excessive amounts of fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.

U Zakhung said that under the Myanmar Investment Law, investors must respect the cultures and traditions of ethnic people, must conduct an environmental impact assessment, and must not damage the environment.

He added that investors are responsible for paying compensation if workers are injured or killed in the workplace.

He accused the banana plantations in Waingmaw of destroying the traditional crops of local farmers to make way for more banana crops.

He said that many banana companies in Waingmaw allegedly operate without permission from the Investment Commission.

The air, soil and water are being damaged by the expansion of the plantations, he said, adding that some companies have encroached on forests.

The cultivation of tissue-cultured bananas started in Kachin in 2006 as part of the government’s effort to replace opium poppies.

From: Myanmar Times