Farmers in Min Hla Township in Pegu Division have told DVB that staff at the local Department of Land Statistics are asking for bribes when they request the land certificates they require in order to apply for agricultural loans.
“To get a number 7 form – a land ownership license – the staff request between 10,000 and 20,000 kyat (US$10- $20),” a local farmer said. “We need this certificate in order to request a crop-planting loan from the bank.”
“In our community, almost all the farmers need a loan from the bank at this time of year,” said Thanarpo village administrator Win Aung. “All were asked for bribes by the Land Statistics office. After we sent a letter of complaint to the township officer, then about half of the farmers were given the deeds.”
When asked about the allegations of corruption in his department, Aung San, the assistant chief officer of Min Hla Department of Land Statistics said, “I don’t know anything about these bribes. It is difficult to oversee all the staff – they are not my sons and daughters.”
A new registration process for agricultural loans was initiated in August 2012 whereby farmers had to produce evidence of land ownership to apply for a loan to pay for the expense involved in planting crops. However, many farmers were unaware of the new system and it wasn’t until the last minute that many approached the land statistics office for certificates, said Win Aung.
Rainy season has already begun in most parts of Burma, including Pegu [Bago], and farmers generally need to plant rice and other crops during the month of June, else they miss the season’s harvest.