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NLD forms social network for farmers

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Social networking is coming to the farm. That’s the newest tactical tool for organizing farmers and developing a sense of community, say officials of  the National League for Democracy (NLD).

A farmer and his buffaloes prepare a paddy field for planting in Rangoon in this file photo. The NLD will use social networking to offer farmers a way to share their problems and get advice. Photo: AFP The planned NLD network will have 33 members from 19 townships, officials say. It will offer legal advice and information to farmers and will compile information on issues affecting farmers, while linking the farmers to NLD headquarters in Rangoon.

NLD vice chairman Tin Oo was named chairman of the network; Hla Pe, an executive committee member, is vice chairman.

‘In the past, farmers haven’t had a network or organization where they could report their problems’, Kyaw Myint, the secretary of the NLD Peasant Affairs Committee, told Mizzima. ‘Now, they can report their problems to us. For instance, they will be able to complain about land confiscations’.

The project grew out of meetings of top NLD leaders and 540 members which took place in Rangoon from March 9 to 18.

A sample of networking information so far: farmers reported that more than 4,000 acres of maize fields were destroyed because of unseasonably heavy rains in the Irrawaddy Division last week. And other farmers are seeking advice on how to solve a problem of chemical waste disposal by a paper factory in Zalun.

This is the third social network group formed recently by the NLD, joining a young activists’ network and a lawyers’ network.

Farmers are also getting the attention of  the National Unity Party (NUP). Spokesman Han Shwe said that the party will be encouraging farmers to form associations to promote the welfare of farmers.

He warned, however, that if political parties separately form their own farmers’ organisations, it could destroy unity among farmers and weaken a group’s effectiveness.

‘If the political parties discriminate against the farmers’ networks of other political parties, the unity among farmers could be shattered’, he said. ‘For instance, in the past, when the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) split into two groups, each group formed farmers’ associations and that destroyed the unity among farmers’.

Other NLD members of the farmers’ network are Mann Nyunt Thein (Pantanaw), Shwe Hla Kyaing (Kangyidaunt), Than Tun Aye (Kangyidaunt), Win Tun (Kyaunggon), Man Johny (Kyonepyaw), Aung Khin Bo (Bogale), Thaung Aye (Maubin), Maung Maung Gyi (Einme) and Kyaw Myint (Zalun).

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 March 2011 09:03 )  

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