The Myanmar Times
Friday, 18 April 2014
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Farmers apply to establish company to challenge Zaykabar

Farmers from Shwenanthar village in Mingalardon township hold a meeting on May 10 over a land ownership dispute with Zaykabar company. Ko Taik/ The Myanmar TimesFarmers from Shwenanthar village in Mingalardon township hold a meeting on May 10 over a land ownership dispute with Zaykabar company. Ko Taik/ The Myanmar Times

A group of farmers from Mingalardon township embroiled in a land dispute with construction company Zaykabar have applied to form an agribusiness company, a politician helping the farmers said.

The farmers from Shwe Nanthar village in rural Mingaladon applied to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development in Nay Pyi Taw for permission to establish Shwe Wah Su Paung Nyi Nyar Co Ltd on May 17.

“We are very willing to establish a company ourselves. I believe we can do it well and also form a union,” a farmer from Shwenanthar village told The Myanmar Times in the second week of May.

They filed the application because they felt it would give them a better chance of being granted permission to farm the land for the coming monsoon season, said U Nay Myo Wai, head of the Peace and Diversity Party.

“There are 85 farmers who want to establish a company on their own and they have already collected K83 million to do so,” Nay Myo Wai said.

“Instead of other firms taking the farmland and doing a business, we believe that it’ll be better if the farmers run a business on their farmland as a kind of industrial farming,” he said.

“The farm land … is still very productive. If we miss this rainy season, we will lose about K200 million.”

The land – approximately 800 acres – was allegedly acquired by Zaykabar in early 2010 with the assistance of local government officials. Farmers say that the officials tricked them into believing it was being acquired for a government project.

Zaykabar initially said it would build an industrial zone on the site and began destroying embankments in the area in early May, against the orders of the government.

But the company also applied to the government on April 25 for permission to contract farm the fields for 2012-13 and its plans for the land are unclear. The farmers have also applied for permission to farm the land and the government is yet to give either side the green light.