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Agricultural Changes in Myanmar Through Ages
- In Myanmar’s history, changes in agriculture have taken place at least three times. Natural rain-fed rice cultivation was substituted by irrigated cultivation in the Bagan Period. It greatly affected society, especially on the religious sector. The second change took place in the middle of the Konbaung Period in which some new crops were introduced and cultivators were encouraged by providing them with agricultural loans, and advanced money for economic development was discernable. Some crops became export items like rice and cotton. King Mindon made efforts towards the development of agriculture by replacing self-sufficient economy with commercial agriculture. In the colonial period, Myanmar had been a sole exporting country of rice. The whole of lower Myanmar became paddy-growing area and the majority of people were engaged in it. Because of an influx of Indian immigrants who dominated all sorts of public works, natives suffered a great deal. Animosity (hatred) grew about between the two societies; natives and aliens. After independence, a new agrarian economy was introduced by eliminating old landownership systems. The AFPFL government announced that all cultivators must own land. Land redistribution was carried out. But due to insurgency all over Myanmar, the government’s development programmes were not met with success. A political change brought about an economic change. The military government tried to introduce a socialist economy. Thus under the BSPP government, all land and businesses were nationalized. Thus, a new socialist economy came into being. People have, since then, faced economic hardship. Black marketeering prevailed all over Myanmar. Because of the failure of the socialist economy, government officials and people alike became corrupted to a greater extent. Myanmar’s society broke down. Consequently there came about a great social upheaval or a bitter political crisis that the Myanmarese had never met in their history. It was ended with a military coup d’état. And thus agrarian development deteriorated.
Yee Yee Win
- Conference Paper
- 2nd International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies Proceedings , University of Mandalay, 16-18 February, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand