Myanmar: Banana Plantation owned by Chinese companies raises local concerns over land and environmental problems

In 2016, the media reported the emergence of the Chinese investment allegedly involved in the land confiscations by renting land for banana plantation from local authorities in Kachin state where the land grabbing was widespread and longstanding. Along with the expansion of the banana plantation, villagers displaced by fighting and living in IDP camps increasingly concern their land may be occupied, and they will not be able to farm when returning home.

In February 2018, about 200 villagers in Waingmaw in Kachin State protested against Chinese companies that are planting tissue culture bananas, which they say are causing land and environmental problems. Objection letters signed by some 800 residents were sent to the chief minister’s office twice last year… After the protest, the township administrator asked the Chinese companies to acknowledge their protest letter and told them to begin work after getting permission from the national and state governments.

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11 March 2019

Myanmar: Chinese joint venture Tha Khin Sit Mining faces charges for assaulting two reporters after story about protest against company’s site clearances for banana plantations

Author: Nan Lwin, Irrawaddy

"Joint Venture Chinese Company Faces Charges for Assaulting Reporters", 27 Feb 2019

The managing director and staff of a mining company who detained and assaulted two journalists on Tuesday, face five charges including assaulting a woman and wrongful restraint, according to the editor-in-chief of Myitkyina Journal where the reporters work.

A Chinese joint venture, Tha Khin Sit Mining, Import and Export Company’s director and employees forcibly took two reporters from the office of the Myitkyina Journal one day after the journal published a story about local residents’ plans to stage a protest against the companies which are carrying out site clearances for banana plantations in Waimaw Township, Kachin State.

The reporters were detained in separate rooms in the company’s compound…The two reporters were only released after their employers contacted Waimaw Township Police Station, which sent police officers to surround the company’s compound. The Myitkyina Journal editors opened a case against the managing director and five other employees of the mining company at the Waimaw police station under five charges…If found guilty, they could face a one-month to two-year prison sentence and a fine.

According to Myanmar TradeNet, the company is a joint venture between a local Kachin business and a Chinese partner which is active in mining, imports and exports and tissue-culture banana plantations…For more than two years, China-backed banana plantations have been facing a backlash from local residents in Kachin State, where operators are accused of working lands acquired controversially. As the banana plantations expand, villagers displaced by fighting and living in IDP camps are increasingly concerned that their land may be occupied, and that they will not be able to farm it when they return home…

According to a 2017 environmental study by the Lisu Civil Society Organization, Chinese companies have been planting tissue culture bananas since 2012 in Kachin State’s Special Region 1…the companies are using insecticides, weed killers and fertilizers and disposing of them carelessly. This has led to the pollution of water supplies in these areas, in turn causing soil damage and killing fish and livestock.

The Irrawaddy was unable to reach anyone at Tha Khin Sit for their comments on Wednesday.

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Author: Nan Lwin, Irrawaddy

“中國合資公司面臨企圖傷害記者的指控”,2019年2月27日

據記者工作的密支那雜誌主編稱,一名礦業公司的總經理和工作人員周二拘禁並襲擊了兩名記者,他們面臨五項指控,其中包括企圖傷害一名女性和非法拘禁。一家中國合資企業,Tha Khin Sit Mining進出口公司的主管和員工在該雜誌發表了一篇關於當地居民計劃對該公司清拆位於克欽邦Waimaw鎮的香蕉種植園提出抗議的報導後一天,強行從密支那雜誌辦公室帶走了兩名記者。記者被分別單獨關押在公司大院的房間裡...這兩名記者是在雇主聯繫了Waimaw鎮警察局後才被釋放,警察局派出警察包圍了公司大院。密支那雜誌編輯根據五項指控向Waimaw警察局提起對礦業公司主管和其他五名僱員的申訴...如果被判有罪,他們可能面臨一個月至兩年的徒刑和罰款。

據緬甸貿易網稱,該公司是當地克欽邦企業與中國合作夥伴的合資企業,該合作夥伴活躍於採礦,進口和出口以及香蕉組培苗種植園領域...兩年多來,中國支持的香蕉種植園一直面臨著克欽邦當地居民的強烈反對,運營商被指控違規獲得土地許可。隨著香蕉種植園的擴大,因在武裝衝突而流離失所的村民越來越擔心他們的土地可能被佔用,而且當他們返回家園時他們將無地可耕。根據...民間...組織2017年的一項環境研究,自2012年以來,中國公司一直在克欽邦特區種植香蕉組培苗...使用殺蟲劑,除草劑和化肥,並且沒有小心處理它們。這導致這些地區的供水受到污染,進而造成土壤破壞並殺死魚類和牲畜。

截止週三,《伊洛瓦底》雜誌未能與Tha Khin Sit公司取得聯繫。

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Author: Nan Lwin, Irrawaddy

“中国合资公司面临企图伤害记者的指控”,2019年2月27日

据记者工作的密支那杂志主编称,一名矿业公司的总经理和工作人员周二拘禁并袭击了两名记者,他们面临五项指控,其中包括企图伤害一名女性和非法拘禁。一家中国合资企业,Tha Khin Sit Mining进出口公司的主管和员工在该杂志发表了一篇关于当地居民计划对该公司清拆位于克钦邦Waimaw镇的香蕉种植园提出抗议的报道后一天,强行从密支那杂志办公室带走了两名记者。记者被分别单独关押在公司大院的房间里...这两名记者是在雇主联系了Waimaw镇警察局后才被释放,警察局派出警察包围了公司大院。密支那杂志编辑根据五项指控向Waimaw警察局提起对矿业公司主管和其他五名雇员的申诉...如果被判有罪,他们可能面临一个月至两年的徒刑和罚款。

据缅甸贸易网称,该公司是当地克钦邦企业与中国合作伙伴的合资企业,该合作伙伴活跃于采矿,进口和出口以及香蕉组培苗种植园领域...两年多来,中国支持的香蕉种植园一直面临着克钦邦当地居民的强烈反对,运营商被指控违规获得土地许可。随着香蕉种植园的扩大,因在武装冲突而流离失所的村民越来越担心他们的土地可能被占用,而且当他们返回家园时他们将无地可耕。根据...民间...组织2017年的一项环境研究,自2012年以来,中国公司一直在克钦邦特区种植香蕉组培苗...使用杀虫剂,除草剂和化肥,并且没有小心处理它们。这导致这些地区的供水受到污染,进而造成土壤破坏并杀死鱼类和牲畜。

截止周三,《伊洛瓦底》杂志未能与Tha Khin Sit公司取得联系。

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9 March 2019

Myanmar: Banana plantation's chemical use pose harm to livestock & people

Author: Khine Thazin Han & Zaw Linn Naing, Myanmar Times

"Villagers say banana business threatens their way of life", 7 March 2019

Villagers and farmers protesting against the practices of a nearby banana plantation....

...They said the plantation, which is believed to use the tissue culture method to grow bananas, has led to the death of livestock and losses to farmers due to the chemicals it uses.

U Aung Myint, Khout Sint village administrator, said: ..."The plantation claims that the government bought the land and allowed them to operate it, so we have to move, as we are considered squatters. We have been living in the area and working the land for many years. They use large amounts of chemicals that could be dangerous to animals and people, so we are trying to stop them."

U Aung Myint claimed that some of the village's cattle had died as a result of the chemicals.

U Tun Aye, secretary of the Myanmar Ethnic Farmers Union, said "...Land collectively owned by villagers has been gradually disappearing. Cattle die if they fall into the plantation's ditches or just by drinking the water,"....

 

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23 June 2018

Myanmar: Villagers fleeing armed conflict in Kachin lose lands to Chinese banana plantations

Author: Char Thar, Myanmar Times

"Chinese banana plantations flourish as villagers lose their land in Kachin", 22 June 2018

As residents in Kachin State flee from their homes due to fighting between the Tatmadaw (military) and the ethnic Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Chinese businessmen are planting tissue-culture bananas....

...Land is being lost...and it is increasingly difficulty to earn a living, the villagers said.

Officials of the company said that tissue-culture bananas are grown on more than 10,000 acres near Law Sar by a joint venture between China’s Zhen Xin Co. and Chang Yin Khu Development Co., which is locally owned. 

...Chinese companies use insecticides, weed killers and fertilisers on the bananas, and these are disposed of carelessly. This has led to the contamination of water in the area, resulting in the deaths of cattle and damage to the soil....

...Another difficulty that the villagers are facing daily is water. The Chinese growers are pumping water from the streams....

There are difficulties to take action against Chinese companies as they are doing their business under the protection of the armed forces, he said. 

Because of expansion of Chinese banana plantation areas at abandoned villages, the refugees are afraid that they have no more place to return to once the fighting ends....

 

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Author: Char Thar, Myanmar Times

在克欽邦的居民因政府軍和克欽獨立軍間的武裝衝突逃離家園之際,中國商人仍在種植組織培養的香蕉…土地在流失…村民們說維生越來越困難。

香蕉公司的員工稱,這些在Law Sar地區的組織培養香蕉種植面積超過10,000英畝,是由中國Zhen Xin公司和當地的Chang Yin Khu發展公司組建的合資企業投產…中國企業使用殺蟲劑、除草劑和化肥培育香蕉,並隨意丟棄。這引發了當地的水污染,導致牲畜死亡和土壤破壞…村民們日常面臨的一大問題就是飲水。中國種植者們從溪流中抽水…

中國公司是在武裝力量的保護下開展經營的,這使得很難對他們採取行動…因為中國香蕉種植園的擴張是在被廢棄的村莊,難民們擔憂他們在戰爭結束後將無家可回…

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Author: Char Thar, Myanmar Times

在克钦邦的居民因政府军和克钦独立军间的武装冲突逃离家园之际,中国商人仍在种植组织培养的香蕉…土地在流失…村民们说维生越来越困难。

香蕉公司的员工称,这些在Law Sar地区的组织培养香蕉种植面积超过10,000英亩,是由中国Zhen Xin公司和当地的Chang Yin Khu发展公司组建的合资企业投产…中国企业使用杀虫剂、除草剂和化肥培育香蕉,并随意丢弃。这引发了当地的水污染,导致牲畜死亡和土壤破坏…村民们日常面临的一大问题就是饮水。中国种植者们从溪流中抽水…

中国公司是在武装力量的保护下开展经营的,这使得很难对他们采取行动…因为中国香蕉种植园的扩张是在被废弃的村庄,难民们担忧他们在战争结束后将无家可回…

 

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11 February 2018

Tissue culture bananas called a threat

Author: Khin Su Wai, Myanmar Times

About 200 villagers in Waingmaw in Kachin State are protesting against Chinese companies that are planting tissue culture bananas, which they say are causing land and environmental problems. The Chinese companies started planting three years ago, and it has been spread to Myitkyina and Tar Law Gyi from Waingmaw. Objection letters signed by some 800 residents were sent to the chief minister’s office twice last year but there has been no response from the authorities… After the protest, the township administrator asked the Chinese companies to acknowledge their protest letter and told them to begin work after getting permission from the national and state governments….

“There are four Chinese firms. One company owns 1200 acres and another company owns 850 acres. These two firms came and signed but the list is not complete yet. Only the field belonging to one firm has ripe bananas. …[V]illagers [who] have rented out their land to Chinese companies [were affected]. To make things worse for local people, the companies involved in the plantation bring their own workers from China, who are involved in every stage of production. …[A]ccording to rumours, no other plants can be grown on land used to grow tissue culture bananas for at least five years.

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18 January 2018

Kachin IDPs fear land grabs in the villages they once called home

Author: Htun Khaing, Frontier Myanmar

Border trade, …has…revived and crossings are busy with trucks entering China loaded with products from Myanmar, particularly corn, banana, rice, watermelon and animal feed. Many of the companies that have set up banana plantations are thought to be fronts for Chinese investors. …[A] lawyer from Waingmaw Township in Kachin State, said the technical expertise and investment come from China, and all of the produce from the plantations is exported. Most of the labourers are migrants from Rakhine State. …“Only Myanmar companies are allowed to invest in banana plantations but everyone knows many Chinese people are investing[.]”

… The news that companies from China are investing in banana plantations is causing anxiety among…villagers living in IDP camps in Kachin, …U Dashi Lamaing…was shocked to recently find a plantation had been established on part of his orange orchard. …U Thein Soe…said local media had reported that the government has granted a 30-year lease to a private company to establish a banana plantation near his village. He despairs at the prospect of losing his land.

Kachin State Hluttaw lawmaker U Naw Li…said…that the government had not given legal approval to plantations on land owned by IDPs. …[He] submitted a question to the state assembly about the banana plantations, and the government responded that it would “find a way to solve the problem”. “…I got a lot of complaints from IDPs about their land,” … “We have started collecting information on how much land has been occupied, when the plantations were started and where they are located.” …the Kachin Independence Organisation, issued a statement…warning that the illegal occupation of land by some companies and individuals to establish plantations must stop. …

The Reverend Lama Yaw, of the Kachin Baptist Convention, said the Union government and all armed groups in Kachin – including ethnic armies and the Tatmadaw – had a responsibility to ensure that villagers displaced by war did not lose their land. “There will be problems if the refugees return home and discover that their land has been taken[.]”…

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22 February 2016

FEATURE-Conflict and powerful companies stoke land disputes in Myanmar's Kachin

Author: Thin Lei Win, Reuters

La Laung Daung Nan vividly remembers …[a]lone in front of the two-acre plot of land her family had been allocated in a United Nations-led project, she waited for fellow villagers to turn up. They had been sent by officials and were coming to take down the barbed wire that protected her rubber saplings from the trampling of cows and buffalos. …Daung Nan, her husband and 16 others…are in a legal tussle with village authorities over land they consider theirs, but which officials say is part of 1,600 acres designated as grazing ground. The villagers say they were not consulted about plans to turn their land into grazing grounds and believe it was a ploy by officials who planned to profit from renting out 300 acres to a Chinese company for a banana plantation.

Campaign group “Land In Our Hands” said in a 2015 report Kachin…has the second largest number of land confiscations after Shan state. “Land confiscations in Kachin have been so rampant there is little vacant land left,”…“Villagers are too scared to speak up….”Fighting between ethnic insurgents and the army, which flared up again in 2011 …has weakened communities’ rights and driven more than 100,000 civilians from their homes. Many worry whether they will still be able to access their farmland when peace returns and accuse the army of seizing swathes of land.

… Changes in land ownership and use are among key issues in Myanmar’s political and economic transition, with deep resentment and protests over acquisitions for infrastructure, development or large-scale agricultural projects.

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