Kachin State Research Team Launches Report on Controversial Tissue Culture Bananas

A local report on the impacts of Chinese tissue culture banana plantations in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township launched in Myitkyina on Jan. 7
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A local report on the impacts of Chinese tissue culture banana plantations in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township launched in Myitkyina on Thursday.

The Land Security and Environmental Conservation Network, the group behind the report, presented their findings at the Shwe Pyi San hall in the Kachin State capital to present the undesirable consequences of this form of agriculture, in an effort to reduce the number of plantations.

The cultivation of tissue culture bananas take up an estimated 12 percent of all agricultural land in Kachin State.

“According to our survey, there are over 100,000 acres of Chinese tissue culture bananas growing in Kachin State. I don't know whether this kind of plantation is in line with Burmese agricultural laws,” Brang Awng a spokesperson for the network, told KNG. “I want our local people to understand the impacts of these banana plantations,” he said, adding that the long-term effects of the projects remain unknown.

Chinse banana pups at Muk Chyik.jpegSaplings of Chinese tissue culture banana at Muk Chyik village, Waingmaw township

The government, Brang Awng said, should have “a concrete land use policy and plan” to reduce the spread of these types of plantations

"Because the government is allowing tissue banana farming, we have lost our grazing grounds for our cattle and animals,” said farmer Zawng Dau, who lives in Shwe Nyaung Pyin village in Waingmaw Township. “They use an excessive amount of pesticides in their tissue banana farming. Farmers cannot grow other plants on their farmland near the tissue banana farms. The farmland is totally damaged.”

There are 26 companies registered to grow tissue culture bananas in Waingmaw, according to local lawyer Gannes. According to a government survey, there are 27,000 acres of farmland dedicated to the crop.