Over 100,000 acres of idle land in Taninthayi without oil palm cultivations to be confiscated

Zeyar Nyein

Among the land areas in Taninthyi Region allotted for growing oil palm, over 100,000 acres will be confiscated as they are not being used for intended cultivation purposes, according to a press conference organised by Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) on August 29.

"There is an estimated amount of over 100,000 acres. As coordination efforts are completed, the amount may be more. Upon completion, we can say exactly. Currently, there are over 100,000 acres," said Win Tin, director of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.

Under the previous government, MIC had allowed four foreign companies and one local company to grow oil palm in the region.

The five companies are; two from Indonesia and one each from Thailand, South Korean and Myanmar. They were allowed to grow oil palm on about 300,000 acres of land.

As the land area was too large, authorities under the new government made a field trip and found out that only about 40,000 acres were really growing oil palm plantations. Therefore, they came up with new plans to resize the areas without oil palm plantations.

MIC fixed the amount of acreage to grow oil palm by reducing the remaining acreage without real plantations and sent a report to the region government for scrutiny and approval.

According to investigation, over 100,000 acres are found to have been used for oil palm cultivation. For some areas, negotiations are ongoing due to difficulty of sustaining the cultivations. After complete assessment, all the areas where cultivation does not really exit will be confiscated.

Locals and foreign business people with genuine wish to grow oil palm are invited to apply for land areas to concerned township land management and planning department.

From 2011 to 2016, Taninthayi Region allotted over 1.9 million acres of land to 44 companies to grow oil palm. However, they were able to grow on about 535,000 acres of land, according to a report on behind-the-scene oil palm cultivation.