Agricultural loans will not be provided for farmers who own over 10 acres of land as they are wealthy people who can mortgage their lands, according to Myanmar's Deputy Agricultural Minister.
Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, Khin Zaw made the comment in his reply to questions raised by MP Aung Thein Linn during a parliamentary session on Wednesday.
MP Aung Thein Linn said that since the government provides loans only for a maximum of 10 acres of farmland, farmers who own over 10 acres of land have to separate their lands under different names to apply for the loans, resulting in unnecessary costs and possible disputes over land ownership in the future.
"The wealthy owners of over 10 acres of farmland were not interested in applying for loans in the past due to low loan size of only 20,000 kyats per acre. Now we are providing loans of 100,000 kyats per acre so farmland owners are trying to get these loans to deal with financial needs by using various methods including transferring ownership to their wives or children or changing the family census register," said deputy minister Khin Zaw.
Some MPs denied that farmers who own over 10 acres of land were 'wealthy people'. They pointed out that many farmers who own over 10 acres of lands have been mortgaging their lands at high-interest rates as they can only receive 100,000 kyats for ten acres of land. Some even had to sell their buffaloes and cows to pay for agricultural expenses during the bad years in farming.
"Owners of many farmland plots can mortgage their lands at the banks recognised by the government if they have the rights to work farmland. So, [the ministry] doesn't have any plan to provide loans for owners of over 10 acres of farmland," added Khin Zaw.
At present, farmers are suffering heavy losses from bad weather as severe drought hit central Myanmar while heavy rainfalls drown crops in other areas.