Waingmaw Township Court Fines Banana Company

A company's backhoe is working in the church land.

A village church brought charges against the company once its plantation spread onto their church’s land.

The Waingmaw Township court in Kachin State fined the Generation Star company on Thursday for expanding their tissue culture banana plantation onto land owned by a church in Muk Chyik village.

Muk Chyik church leaders had filed charges against the company in April 2018, under Article 427 of Burma’s penal code for causing damage to property. The charges can be punished with up to three months in prison or a 100,000 kyat (US$66) fine.

"We, our church, prosecuted this case. The township court sentenced four representatives of the company to pay 100,000 kyats each,” Dai Hkawng, head of the church, told KNG.

Using Chinese capital, the Generation Star company began growing tissue culture bananas in January 2018; the practice is widely criticized by the Kachin public for its heavy use of pesticides and for connections to land grabs.

The company reportedly expanded their plantation until it crossed onto the church’s land, leading to opposition from the church leaders and villagers.

Following the dispute, Generation Star filed a range of charges against the Muk Chyik leaders.

“They prosecuted us first. We had already signed a statement at the administration office saying that neither side would not prosecute the other. But they broke the agreement and prosecuted us. Therefore, we countered them,” Dai Hkawng explained.

The court has yet to hear the company’s case against the church leaders.