Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Burma: Villagers forced to work on junta's oil seed plantations

The Burmese junta has ordered the people of Sandoway, Arakan State to cultivate oil seed plantations in winter, said a teacher from Sandoway.

The authorities appropriated 27,890 acres for oil seed cultivation and ordered the farmers to collect their own seeds, fertilizer and insecticide for the project belonging to the authorities, he added.

The authorities ordered cultivation of sunflower, ground nut, mustard and sesame in the allocated site," he added.

The authorities of Sandoway had planned to have oil seed plantation for the winter season as the town had more rice than the town needed in the year 2008, so it planned to turn people to another direction to garner more profit from the winter oil seed plantation, said a close aide of the township authority.

The authorities of the southern side of Arakan, previously ordered and seized the lands of farmers for rubber and physic nut plantation programs where the local people had to work as forced labor ( the junta calls it the people's work force) and the farmers had to contend with less grazing fields for their cattle. The authorities' again allocated land for oil seed plantation where farmers used the land for grazing and seasonal plantation of chili, potato, onion among others, said a farmer from Sandoway.

"With the authorities seizing and allocating the land for their project, we will face difficulties for animal rearing in the future as there will be no grazing ground for cattle and the farmers will become jobless as their farm lands are being seized continuously," said a student whose father was a farmer.

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Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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