What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the
Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
                                                                                                                       March 2014

                                                     The global demand                           millions of people pushed off their
                                                                                                 land and deeper into poverty and
                                                     for land
                                                                                                 the mass destruction of some of the
                                                     The world is currently witnessing the       world’s last intact forests. This is
                                                     fastest-growing commercial pressure         causing widespread loss of livelihoods
                                                     on land in history. The past decade         and food insecurity among rural
                                                     has seen at least 49 million hectares       communities, as well as irreversible
                                                     of land in developing countries             environmental devastation.
                                                     leased out by global investors1
                                                                                                 In South East Asia, large-scale
                                                     and agriculture is leading the way,
                                                                                                 rubber plantations are one of the
                                                     accounting for approximately 79 per
                                                                                                 main drivers of ‘land grabs’ and
                                                     cent of targeted investments.2 In a
                                                                                                 deforestation. Land deals don’t
                                                     world experiencing food insecurity
                                                                                                 need to happen this way – there is
                                                     and unprecedented resource scarcity,
                                                                                                 significant evidence to show that
                                                     this interest in farmland is set to rise.
                                                                                                 investing and supporting smallholder
                                                     This is especially true for developing
                                                                                                 farmers brings lasting economic,
                                                     countries in which land deals are
                                                                                                 social and environmental benefits.
                                                     often done under the guise of
                                                     ‘national development’. The impacts         Smallholder farming by its very nature
                                                     on the ground, however, have been           means that there is less potential for
                                                                                                 land conversion and therefore greater
                                                                                                 maintenance of agricultural and wild
                                                                                                 biodiversity. Studies have consistently
                                                                                                 found that where smallholder farms
                                                                                                 adopt integrated cropping systems
                                                                                                 that promote biodiversity, both
                                                                                                 livelihoods and the environment
                                                                                                 benefit from a more resilient and
                                                                                                 organically regulated system.3
                                                                                                 Leaders across the world face a
                                                                                                 choice in how their countries develop,
                                                                                                 including the Myanmar government.
                                                                                                 This paper aims to place Myanmar in
                                                                                                 the wider context of this global ‘land
                                                                                                 grab’. It focuses on the development
                                                                                                 of the country’s rubber production
                                                                                                 and makes recommendations for
                                                                                                 how the sector could progress
Latex being collected from a rubber tree, also known as ‘tapping’. © Global Witness              differently to bring greater benefits.
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

                                                      Background to political                   of the most important remaining
                                                                                                ecosystems in the world but harm an
                                                      reform in Myanmar and
                                                                                                already vulnerable population.
                                                      the impact on foreign
                                                                                                Areas with valuable natural resources,
                                                      direct investment
                                                                                                such as minerals, hydropower, oil
                                                      Myanmar is currently going through a      and gas, have been targeted by both
                                                      political reform process which has the    state and private investors.6 Now land
                                                      opportunity to chart a new course for     itself is increasingly the commodity
                                                      the country after more than 60 years      of choice for investors. As the peace
                                                      of civil war. Political and economic      process continues and new rounds
                                                      policy changes have increased             of ceasefire agreements are signed
                                                      foreign investment and private sector     between the government and armed
                                                      involvement in the country.               ethnic opposition groups, more
                                                                                                resource-rich areas will be opened
                                                                                                up to resource extraction fuelled by
                                                                                                foreign investment.
                                                                                                The negative risks that large-scale
                                                                                                land investments pose are great. The
                                                                                                majority of people in Myanmar live
                                                                                                in rural areas and rely on farmland
                                                                                                and forests for their daily needs and
                                                                                                livelihoods – they make up nearly
                                                                                                three-quarters of the population, or
                                                                                                around 40 million people.7 Poverty
                                                                                                is around twice as high in rural
                                                                                                than urban areas, accounting for
                                                                                                almost 85 per cent of total poverty
                                                                                                nationwide.8 Agriculture contributes
                                                                                                around one third of the country’s
The majority of Myanmar’s population rely on land and forests for its livelihoods. © iStock     GDP and 15 per cent of total export
                                                                                                earnings.9 It also employs over 60 per
                                                      Officially, poverty reduction has         cent of the nation’s labour force.10
                                                      been at the core of Myanmar’s
                                                                                                Myanmar is also one of the world’s
                                                      economic reform package. In
                                                                                                most ethnically diverse countries
                                                      particular, stimulating massive foreign
                                                                                                – ethnic minorities make up an
                                                      investment in agriculture is one of
                                                                                                estimated 30-40 per cent of the
                                                      the government’s main strategies to
                                                                                                total population and ethnic states
                                                      achieve poverty reduction.4
                                                                                                constitute 57 per cent of the total
                                                      The last ten years has seen domestic      land area.11 Most of the people
                                                      companies in Myanmar investing            living in these areas are subsistence
                                                      heavily in land.5 However, as the         farmers practicing taungya – a form
                                                      country becomes more locked-in to         of shifting cultivation practiced by
                                                      global markets, intensification of        smallholder farmers predominantly
                                                      agricultural investment promoted          in the uplands.12 Due to a host of
                                                      on such a large-scale could lead to a     reasons, primarily related to on-
                                                      surge of foreign investment in land,      going civil war, it is estimated that
                                                      bringing the same negative impacts        at least one-quarter of all farmers
                                                      to Myanmar that it has elsewhere.         in government-controlled areas
                                                      This could not only destroy one           in Myanmar are now landless.13
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

In addition to this, about half of         security and poverty reduction. Finally,   far from bringing progress this
the household farms which do               the resilience of rubber trees, their      agricultural investment model risks
exist in these areas are less than         long life-span (30-40 years) and year-     exacerbating poverty levels and
5 acres, which is below minimum            round tapping ensure a long-term           increasing deforestation.
subsistence levels.14 Landlessness         stable income for farmers.19               Total rubber acreage in Myanmar has
is therefore already a serious and
                                           However, two patterns of expansion         now reached 1.43 million acres24 and
growing problem throughout                                                            Myanmar ranks ninth in the world,
                                           in Myanmar have emerged. Over the
Myanmar.15 Now the threats to                                                         according to the Myanmar Rubber
                                           past decade, a new ‘non-traditional’
land tenure, forests and ecosystems                                                   Planters and Producers Association
                                           frontier area is being targeted for
could increase because of the                                                         (MRPPA), in terms of rubber
                                           plantation development. This has
Myanmar government’s policies to                                                      production. The majority of exports
                                           been led by the government which
expand agribusiness in which rubber                                                   go to China. According to MRPPA,
                                           has helped expand the country’s
cultivation is central.                                                               nearly two-thirds of the total rubber
                                           rubber sector through partial
                                           agricultural liberalisation. Official      cultivated comes from Mon State.25
Asia’s natural rubber                                                                 But production levels of rubber across
                                           policy has shifted from relying on
boom: is Myanmar the                       small-scale farmers to reach national      the country are low considering the
‘final frontier’?                          agricultural production quotas to          area of rubber planted. This is partly
                                           using private companies to achieve         due to the poor quality of the rubber
South East Asia has experienced
                                           national targets.20 As such, rubber        trees and tree management which
a rapid growth in the production
                                           has now expanded into northern             has resulted in low productivity. It is
of natural rubber over the past
                                           Myanmar in Kachin State and                also due to agricultural concessions
decade, with Myanmar no exception.
                                           northern and eastern Shan State.           often being a significant source
Demand is likely to increase, with the
                                           Large-scale plantations are sweeping       of ‘conversion timber’ which may
International Rubber Study Group
                                           across the hills in areas that were        result in some companies simply
(IRSG) predicting that by 2020,
                                           formerly taungya fields.21 Secondly,       abandoning the concession following
global demand for natural rubber will
                                           in the past few years, new areas           forest clearance.26
outpace supply by as much as 1.4
million tonnes – equivalent to a 10        are being targeted by large-scale
per cent gap.16                            rubber concessions, this time near
                                           to where smallholder rubber farms
Rubber has been cultivated in
                                           already exist, reducing their access
Myanmar since the early 1900s,
                                           to land and natural resources. This
primarily in Mon State.17 Such
                                           can already be seen in areas such as
‘traditional’ rubber growing areas
                                           Rakhine State, Mon State, Kayin State
mostly comprise smallholder rubber
                                           and northern Tanintharyi Region.22
farms which have provided sustainable
livelihoods to local communities.          In both models of expansion, these
These smallholders have been able to       concessions are allocated in areas
make a lucrative living from rubber-       that the government has defined as
tapping all year round for several         ‘wastelands’, often in the uplands.
reasons. Firstly, is the fact that these   But far from being wastelands, the
small farms are owned and operated         areas, in fact, are often farmed by
by families themselves, providing          local households as taungya plots.
self-employment but resulting in           As a result, large-scale rubber
low labour costs. Secondly, rubber         concessions are threatening the
plantations are profitable, even when      livelihoods of local farmers by
international prices are relatively low    undermining food security and access
because they entail such low costs and     to natural resources in forests and
workloads during the tapping phase.18      farmland.23 With the suspension of
The income earned from selling the         sanctions and Myanmar opening up           Across South East Asia, latex is known as
latex in turn contributes to both food     for the first time to global investors,    ‘white gold’. © iStock
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

                                                                                                        Tenure security provided under
                                                                                                        Myanmar law is weak. This is partly
                                                                                                        because the Government retains
                                                                                                        ultimate ownership of all land, and
                                                                                                        can rescind land use rights if the
                                                                                                        conditions of use are not met.27 It
                                                                                                        also results from the fact that, unlike
                                                                                                        some other countries, collective and
                                                                                                        customary tenure rights are not
                                                                                                        fully recognised in law.28 Over the
                                                                                                        last few years, several key laws have
                                                                                                        been passed as part of the agrarian
                                                                                                        transformation from rural subsistence
                                                                                                        farming to an industrial cash-crop
                                                                                                        economy. However, these new laws
                                                                                                        have been criticised for potentially
                                                                                                        undermining land rights in the ways
Latex being stored prior to processing, Cambodia 2013. © Global Witness                                 outlined in the table below.29

 Law                  Government Agency            Aim                          Area requiring clarification
 Vacant, Fallow       Government’s Central         To convert ‘vacant, fallow   • As very few farmers have official land title certificates, most
 and Virgin Lands     Land Management              and virgin land’ into          farmers have no formal land use rights under the VFV Law. Those
 Management Law       Committee (LMC) chaired      agricultural industrial        without title are thereby classified as ‘squatters’, leaving them
 (VFV Law) 201230     by the Minister of           estates (Chapter 3,            vulnerable to losing their land to concessions.33 This is due to the
                      Agriculture and Irrigation   Article 4.)32                  fact that under the VFV law, the LMC can allocate land used by
                      (MOAI)31                                                    smallholders (both upland taungya land and lowlands with no
                                                                                  official land title) to domestic and foreign investors.34
 Farmland Law         Farmland Management          To secure rural land         • Land can be legally bought, sold and transferred on a land market
 201235               Body (FMB), a line agency    tenure through a land          but the process is problematic as it only applies to those with land
                      within the MOAI and          use certificate and            use titles – which accounts for only a minority of the population.
                      chaired by the Minister of   registration system            It therefore leaves those who don’t have an official land use title
                      the MOAI36                   (Chapter 5, Articles 15a.      without legal rights or protection, meaning their land can easily be
                                                   and b.)37                      sold-off to investors.38
                                                                                • Land use certificates can be issued to farmers by Farmland
                                                                                  Administration Bodies (FAB) but the process for this is unclear, as
                                                                                  are the government bodies responsible.39 Decisions made by the
                                                                                  FAB are outside judicial processes. This removes farmers’ right
                                                                                  to appeal.40 It can therefore be argued that any project deemed
                                                                                  to be in the ‘national interest’ can be pushed forward without
 Foreign              Myanmar Investment           Provides framework for     • Has deemed the agriculture sector ‘restricted’ for large-scale
 Investment Law       Committee (MIC) under        and guides foreign direct    (private) investments, along with other sectors such as toxic waste,
 201242               the Ministry of National     investment into Myanmar      livestock and fisheries. These ‘restricted’ sectors carry additional
                      Planning and Economic        (Chapter 6, Articles 11 a.   but ambiguous environmental and social precautions.45 This
                      Development (NPED)43         and b.)44                    ambiguity around the restrictions creates a potential loophole for
                                                                                damaging activities to be approved. What’s more, if a project is
                                                                                deemed ‘beneficial’ to citizens then it may gain approval from the
                                                                                Myanmar government and therefore override these restrictions.46
                                                                                • Land use rights for concessionaires can last for up to seventy
                                                                                  years47 which, if for agricultural investments, contradicts with
                                                                                  the former VFV law. Under that, the total acreage that can be
                                                                                  leased for industrial crops is 50,000 acres for a 30 year period.48
                                                                                  Longer leases can be obtained under the FIL if the investor
                                                                                  gains permission from the Myanmar Government.49 This further
                                                                                  exacerbates the inequalities surrounding land tenure in Myanmar.

What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

As a consequence of the above, there      ‘frontier’ countries of Cambodia and               they attempt to complain or resist,
are serious concerns that these new       Lao P.D.R. These investments have                  communities face violence, arrest and
laws governing land concessions           had devastating consequences for                   detention. In both Cambodia and
could put communities under real          both countries’ people and forests.                Laos, land investments are governed
threat. Ethnic communities living         The negative impacts that both                     by legal safeguards intended to
on the uplands are particularly at        countries are experiencing should                  ensure national economic benefits
risk. The targeting of their land for     act as a grave warning of what                     and prevent negative environmental
rubber plantations could exacerbate       happens when governments ignore                    and social impacts. As in Myanmar,
insecurity of land tenure and             social, environmental and governance               the majority of the population in
access to food for the majority           safeguards. In this respect, what                  both countries are rural subsistence
of Myanmar’s population who               lessons can Myanmar learn from                     farmers and agricultural investment
rely on their land and forests for        Cambodia and Laos?                                 is urgently needed to tackle
their livelihoods. Consequently,                                                             poverty levels. But instead of their
the new laws could be interpreted         Cambodia and Laos:                                 governments promoting investments
as benefiting the private sector,         What lessons can                                   in small holders, corruption and
particularly large foreign investors,     Myanmar learn?                                     vested interests have meant that
at the expense of the country’s                                                              communities’ needs have been
                                          Cambodia and Laos are in the middle
smallholder farmers.                                                                         consistently neglected in favour of
                                          of a land-grabbing crisis.53 Vast tracts
The Ministry of Agriculture and                                                              leasing out huge tracts of land to the
                                          of land are being leased out by both
Irrigation (MOAI) has produced a 30-                                                         private sector.
                                          governments for rubber plantations
year Master Plan for the Agriculture      with disastrous consequences                       In Laos, no official government
Sector (2000-01 to 2030-31). The          for local communities and the                      statistics are available for the total
development plan lacks detail but         environment. The negative impacts                  land acquired by domestic or foreign
states that the government aims to        are hard to overstate: often the                   investors. A recent government
convert 10 million acres of ‘wasteland’   first people know about a company                  estimate stated approximately
for private industrial agricultural       being given their land is when the                 2.7 million acres has been given
production.50 However, no official        bulldozers arrive. Families affected               out in land concessions alone.54
national land-planning process has        are impoverished, face food and                    This is equivalent to 5 per cent of
been produced to help form decisions      water shortages and get little or no               national territory or 18 per cent
around land use. In addition, the         compensation. Indigenous minority                  more than the total arable land in
government also has a 30-year plan        peoples’ spirit forests and burial                 Laos.55 It is estimated that rubber
in the same timeframe to obtain           grounds have been destroyed. When                  accounts for 34 per cent of total
1.5 million acres of planted area of
rubber in the country, and the capacity
to produce nearly 300,000 metric
tonnes (MT) per annum.51 This target
is expected to be reached earlier than
expected: the area planted has already
reached 1.4 million acres and the
production target is predicted to be
met in 2025.52
Myanmar is not alone in this
surge of investments into rubber
plantations. Smallholder rubber
farmers have taken a central role in
global production historically, but the
last few years has seen a new wave
of rubber investors acquiring large
swathes of land in the neighbouring       Community land cleared for a rubber plantation in Cambodia. © Global Witness
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

allocated concessions.56 However, the                    to ensure more equitable and                               and subsequent protests against
expansion of an existing but small                       sustainable use of its natural                             the ruling Cambodian People’s
rubber industry in Laos has happened                     resources and to protect the rights of                     Party.65 These demonstrations have
only in the last decade. The                             smallholders and indigenous peoples                        continued into 2014 and were met
promotion of rubber was intended to                      to access land and forest resources.61                     with excessive use of force by the
act as a modest supplemental cash                                                                                   authorities, resulting in the deaths of
                                                         However, the implementation of
crop to enhance livelihoods of upland                                                                               several civilians.66
                                                         these laws is weak and completely
farmers.57 In reality, it has grown into
                                                         undermined by Cambodia’s corrupt                           A shroud of secrecy also plagues the
a rapidly expanding agro-industry
                                                         political and business elite. Land                         allocation process, which involves
that is becoming tainted by mounting
                                                         has become the latest example of                           an almost total lack of community
concern over a lack of government
                                                         how Cambodia’s valuable natural                            consultation and varying degrees
regulation and controls.58 Due
                                                         resources have been captured by                            of coercion. Local communities
to the immature nature of the
                                                         those in power growing spectacularly                       are offered wholly inadequate
industry, government officials in
                                                         rich while one third of the population                     compensation for loss of land and
Laos have relied on external inputs
                                                         lives on less than US$0.61 a day.62                        resources and more often than not
of knowledge and investments from
                                                         The problem is exacerbated by the                          receive nothing. The government’s
state and private entrepreneurs from
                                                         fact that millions of Cambodians do                        land concession model has attracted
neighbouring countries, particularly
                                                         not have secure titles to their land.                      significant international criticism, as
Vietnam and China. This has
                                                         The consequences have been the loss                        illustrated by a statement from the
triggered a huge and sudden increase
                                                         of significant areas of land for local                     United Nations Special Rapporteur
in rubber planting with little planning
                                                         communities across the country due                         on the situation of human rights
or monitoring taking place.59
                                                                                                                    related to economic and other land
                                                                                                                    concessions in Cambodia, Professor
                                                                                                                    Surya Subedi
                                                                                                                    “The current climate of development
                                                                                                                    (in Cambodia) is characterized
                                                                                                                    by low transparency and uneven
                                                                                                                    access to information, inadequate
                                                                                                                    consultation, and participation which
                                                                                                                    is not inclusive, and, in my view, is
                                                                                                                    unsustainable and likely to hamper
                                                                                                                    future economic growth.”67
                                                                                                                    In addition to the devastating
                                                                                                                    negative social and environmental
                                                                                                                    impacts, such investments carry
                                                                                                                    significant corporate risks for
Cambodians protesting in Phnom Penh against a ‘land grab’ are met with force by the authorities. © Global Witness   companies. Due to escalating land
In Cambodia, rubber plantations                          to an expanding encroachment of                            disputes, on 7 May 2012, the
cover 2.9 million acres and make                         rubber and other land concessions,                         Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen
up 80 per cent of total land                             with an estimated 700,000                                  announced a moratorium on the
concessions.60 Since 2001, the                           Cambodians adversely affected.63                           granting of new land concessions
Royal Government of Cambodia                             Protests against the rapid rise in land                    and a review of those already in
has introduced new laws governing                        concessions have become increasingly                       existence. The stated intention of
land and forest resources, as well                       common and violent: in 2012 the                            this programme was to issue over
as specific legislation for land                         Government of Cambodia arrested                            700,000 land titles to communities
concessions, community forest                            twice as many people during housing                        on more than 2.4 million acres of
management and registering                               and land disputes as in 2011.64                            land before the July 2013 general
indigenous peoples’ collective                           Furthermore, land disputes factored                        election.68 By January 2013, 617,000
titles. These measures are intended                      highly in the 2013 general election                        acres of land had reportedly been
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

removed from private investors’                      national parks, wildlife sanctuaries               be allocated as concessions, across
economic land concessions and                        and protected forests.70 According to              the country intact forest is giving
returned to local people, thereby                    recent data, forest cover in Cambodia              way to industrial-scale plantations
undermining Cambodia’s legitimacy                    fell from around 72 per cent in 1973               at an unprecedented rate.73 Forest
as an investment destination.69                      to only 46 per cent in 201371 and                  cover has fallen from 70 per cent to
Deforestation is also a major problem                satellite imagery demonstrates that                just 40 per cent of total land mass
in both Cambodia and Laos. Investors                 land concessions have significantly                over the last 50 years, according to
appear to have deliberately targeted                 contributed to the loss of intact                  official statistics.74 This rapid forest
protected areas, with over 70 per                    forest.72 In Laos, forest cover has                loss has dire longer terms impacts on
cent of the concessions given out in                 also declined rapidly. Despite the law             soil erosion and watersheds, loss of
2012 in Cambodia situated inside                     allowing only ‘degraded’ forest to                 biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Satellite imagery showing deforestation between 1973 and 2013, including in areas protected by Cambodian law. Cambodia has the fifth highest
deforestation rate in the world. © Open Development Cambodia

    The financial risks to governments and investors of large-scale rubber concessions
    The corporate risks associated with                Using geospatial data from 12 emerging            report, ‘Rubber Barons: How Vietnamese
    investing in land where tenure rights are          market economies, including Cambodia,             companies and international financiers are
    unclear are very real. A 2012 report by            the analysis highlights the problem of            driving a land grabbing crisis in Cambodia
    The Munden Project analysed the financial          overlapping land claims diminishing the value     and Laos’.81 Within 48 hours of the release
    costs associated with ignoring the issue           and viability of industrial concessions.79 The    of the report, HAGL’s share price dropped
    of tenure in land investments.75 The report        study concludes that “industrial concessions      by 6 per cent, attributed by some media
    demonstrated that the financial risks posed        on public lands representing 31% of the           reports to the exposé.82 The company has
    are numerous and range from unexpected             total hectares sampled had some overlap           since experienced consistent pressure
    cash flow loss due to suspensions, to              with a demarcated local territory”.80 This        from investors to bring its operations
    seizure of assets following the loss of            demonstrates to investors that such risks are     in line with the law, work directly with
    insurance coverage.76 The escalation of risk       already being realised and highlights the         local communities to solve disputes and
    can be extremely rapid and irreversible. The       need for feasibility studies and consultation     settle compensation claims, and publicly
    report concluded that the average global           with local communities prior to securing a        disclose details of its concessions. Some
    operating costs of a three-year investment         land acquisition.                                 investors withdrew their funds from HAGL
    of around USD$10 million could be as                                                                 altogether due to the associated risks with
                                                       This matches Global Witness’ own
    much as 29 times higher if the project was                                                           the company.83 At the time of writing,
                                                       experience. In May 2013, Vietnam’s
    forced to stop its activities because of local                                                       communities affected by HAGL’s operations
                                                       largest rubber company, Hoang Anh
    opposition.77                                                                                        in Cambodia had submitted a complaint
                                                       Gia Lai (HAGL), was exposed by Global
    The Munden Project published a further             Witness for a range of environmental and          against the company to the International
    assessment in 2013 of ‘land tenure risk’ as        human rights abuses in the company’s              Finance Corporation, which invests in HAGL
    a specific threat to corporate investments.78      plantations in Cambodia and Laos in the           through a Vietnamese equity fund.84
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

                                                Investment in land and agriculture             Security (CFS).87 This is the first
                                                provides an opportunity to tackle              international standard defining
                                                poverty and boost national economic            best practice for the way in which
                                                development. But these can only                human rights, land and natural
                                                be achieved if governments and                 resources inter-relate. They include
                                                companies stop prioritising large-scale        strong provisions on consultation,
                                                private investments that lock them             customary rights, land reform and
                                                into weak relationships with volatile          how investment in agriculture must
                                                international markets, over investment         prioritise smallholder production.
                                                in local sustainable livelihoods               Since adopting the Voluntary
                                                which leads to genuine national                Guidelines, the CFS is now working
                                                development. For investments in a              on an aligned set of principles for
                                                high-risk sector such as land, several         responsible agricultural investments.
                                                sets of international guidelines exist
                                                                                             Guidelines are also being formed
                                                to help governments and companies
                                                                                             for the global rubber industry with
                                                invest in an environmentally and
                                                                                             the establishment of a ‘Sustainable
                                                socially responsible way:
                                                                                             Rubber Initiative’ which, although
                                                • Directly responding to the social          still at its early stages, was endorsed
                                                  problems that such investments can         by the rubber industry at the World
                                                  cause, in 2011, the United Nations         Rubber Summit in Singapore in May
                                                  Human Rights Council endorsed the          2013. Recognising the potential social
                                                  ‘Guiding Principles for Business           and environmental impacts of rubber
                                                  and Human Rights’.85 These                 plantations, the aim of the initiative
                                                  emphasise the responsibility to protect    is to define a set of sustainability
                                                  and respect human rights of both
                                                                                             standards for rubber production which
                                                  companies and governments, and
                                                                                             will be implemented by all industry
                                                  include extra-territorial obligations on
                                                                                             stakeholders along the supply chain.
                                                  those operating across borders.86
                                                                                             Additionally, some tyre companies such
                                                • The following year, the Voluntary          as Michelin have also recognised the
                                                 Guidelines on the Responsible               need to minimise the risks associated
                                                 Governance of Tenure of                     with sourcing natural resources,
                                                 Land, Fisheries and Forests                 including natural rubber, and have
                                                 in the Context of National                  independently developed company
                                                 Food Security were adopted                  sourcing policies which are applied
Small-scale agriculture provides a stable
livelihood for many Burmese farmers. © iStock    by the UN Committee on Food                 throughout their supply chain.88

What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

Sustainable agriculture,                       to pick up the tab for a degraded                to the poor, due to communal
                                               environment.101 However, small-                  labour opportunities provided by
sustainable rubber
                                               scale farming is an efficient and                small-scale farming in rural areas.106
The commercial rush for land in                resilient mode of production. Small              What’s more, smallholder income
recent years has pushed forward                farms are often more productive                  can be between two and ten times
an often polarised debate around               than their larger counterparts: due              higher than the income from wage
small-scale versus large-scale                 to the fact they are often directly              employment.107
agriculture, particularly in the wider         run by the owners themselves,
context of food security.97 Some                                                                Large-scale monocrop plantations
                                               they are able to self-manage their
have stated that large farms are                                                                also impact on biodiversity and
                                               labour, consequently leading
more efficient and benefit from                                                                 result in the loss of environmental
                                               to a higher output per hectare
easy access to markets.98 Two                                                                   services such as carbon storage,
                                               than large farms.102 Overall, it is
recent reports by the UN, however,                                                              forest products, water sources and
                                               estimated that approximately 450
have concluded that a shift to                                                                  soil fertility.108 Furthermore, the
                                               million smallholders feed around
supporting smallholder farmers, as                                                              lack of biodiversity and associated
                                               2 billion people worldwide.103 In
well as a more holistic approach to                                                             vulnerability to disease and pests
                                               contrast, although large commercial
agriculture, is the only way to tackle                                                          makes necessary the input of large
                                               agribusiness companies tend to have
food security, sustainable land use                                                             quantities of chemical pesticides
                                               greater success in market integration,
and climate change.99                                                                           within the concession. Pesticide-use
                                               they often do not involve local
                                                                                                can have damaging effects on both
In practice, subsidies and tax systems         farmers.104 In addition, their tendency
                                                                                                human health and can poison both
often favour large-scale, export-              to focus on specific crops – often
                                                                                                wildlife and water sources used by
dependent farms and have locked                large-scale monocultures – and
                                                                                                local communities.109
countries into serving fluctuating             dependency on specific economic
international markets.100 In some              conditions means they have difficulty            To conclude, there is little evidence to
cases this has been at the price               in adapting to changing markets and              suggest that large-scale plantations
of small farms and the families                prices.105 Studies have also shown               are needed to improve or ‘modernise’
supported by them. Smallholders                that a more equitable distribution               agriculture. There is, however, a
have often been ruined by industrial           of land leads to higher rates of                 wealth of evidence demonstrating
commodity producers who have                   economic growth and helps to                     the benefits of small-scale agricultural
banked big profits and left taxpayers          ensure that growth is more beneficial            production, including rubber.

   Case Study one for sustainable rubber: Thailand
   Thailand is the largest producer of           which smallholders have diversified to         The Thai government also provides subsidies
   natural rubber in the world, producing        combine rubber farming with livestock,         for local farmers who, as a result, are able
   3.5 million metric tonnes, nearly a third     fruit, fisheries, rice and other crops. RILS
                                                                                                to produce high quality rubber. Almost 50
   of total global output during 2012.89         provides higher household incomes than         per cent of Thailand’s natural rubber is of a
   The country only consumes 10 per cent         that of rubber monocrop systems alone,         quality high enough to meet the domestic
   of its natural rubber domestically, with
                                                 whilst also ensuring the sustainability        certification standard.94 This is predominantly
   90 per cent of production for export.90
                                                 and resilience of household livelihoods.93     used to make car tires and is therefore able
   The vast majority of Thailand’s rubber
                                                 Given that in rubber cultivation, the costs    to serve the export market. The remaining
   is produced by smallholdings, which
                                                 of production are not necessarily reduced      half of Thai rubber produced is used for
   accounts for almost 90 per cent of rubber
   production and provides a livelihood for      through investment in bigger plantations,      lower quality products. Although ongoing
   thousands of households.91 For the last       RILS guarantees economic security for          political unrest has recently impacted upon
   decade, the government of Thailand has        farmers, dynamic production for markets,       the country’s rubber sector over the longer
   promoted Rubber Integrated Livelihood         and less industrialized exploitation of the    term,95 Thailand’s production of natural
   Systems (RILS), a programme through           natural environment.                           rubber is expected to increase.96

What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

                                                                                              The benefits of
Case Study two for sustainable rubber: India                                                  smallholder rubber
India is the fourth largest producer of      and financial support.112 For example,           In the main rubber producing
natural rubber globally.110 The rubber       in Kerala, these cooperatives helped to          countries, smallholder production
sector in India is dominated by small        improve the efficiency and productivity of       dominates the natural rubber
holdings which account for 92 per cent       rubber smallholder systems, enabling them        industry: smallholder produce 93 per
of production and 89 per cent of the area    to achieve a lower cost of production and        cent of rubber in Malaysia, 90 per
of rubber in the country.111 In the 1960s,   better prices for their products compared        cent in Thailand, 92 per cent in India
the Rubber Board of India helped support     to non-members.113 Furthermore, rubber           and 85 per cent in Indonesia.118 An
the organisation of district-level rubber    growers adopting a group approach were           historically successful smallholder
cooperatives through both organisational     able to produce superior grades of rubber        cash crop, rubber carries potential for
                                             due to training from the Board and the           smallholder farmers for a number of
                                             provision of facilities for processing good      important reasons:
                                             quality rubber.114 Growers were also more        1. Economic resilience and food
                                             likely to adopt new technologies due to          security: Natural rubber can easily
                                             financial support from the Rubber Board          be planted with other cash crops
                                             as well as the strengthened bargaining           providing a more diverse source of
                                             power that comes from being part of a            income for farmers. Rubber can also
                                             co-operative.115                                 play an important role in a wider
                                             Rubber production in India has stayed            agro-forestry system – also known
                                             stable for the last decade, in part reflecting   as ‘jungle rubber’119 – which has
                                             the strength of the country’s production         emerged as a resilient system in
                                             model. Although trade data is not                the traditional rubber-producing
                                             commonly available, the general trend is         countries, both environmentally and
                                             for the majority of rubber produced to be        economically.120 Integrating rubber
                                             consumed domestically by India’s growing         into such wider farming systems can
                                             car industry, only exporting natural rubber      both increase household incomes and
                                             when the price on the international market       provide resilience to market volatility.
                                             is higher than the domestic.116                  In one research project in Indonesia,
                                             The case of India shows that rubber              agroforestry was perceived by local
                                             cooperatives can have a significant positive     farmers as the most important use of
                                             impact on the costs of inputs, processing        land compared to both monoculture
                                             and marketing when compared to farmers           and simpler rubber crop systems as
                                             who do not engage with the cooperative           it could provide a range of sources
                                             model. This highlights the importance of         of income and food.121 Further
                                             rubber cooperatives receiving institutional      research in Indonesia showed that
                                             support from the government; helping             smallholders in the country combine
                                             to overcome the challenge of increasing          rice and rubber production with
                                             the economic performance of members,             rubber meeting the need for market
                                             whilst maintaining their own financial           goods whilst rice meets subsistence
                                             solvency. Such results can be achieved           needs. This provides smallholders
                                             through efforts to professionalise               with flexibility: farmers tend to
                                             cooperatives, providing sound legal              abandon rice cultivation when rubber
                                             frameworks around cooperatives and               prices are high but return to it during
                                             through providing enough autonomy such           economic downturns.122
                                             that cooperatives are able to decide their
                                                                                              2. Increased growth and
                                             own organizational structure.117
                                                                                              productivity: Inter-cropping of
                                             Rubber tapper in Kerala. © iStock                certain crops with rubber can
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

improve the performance of rubber
trees. This is due to nitrogen inputs to
the soil from particular crops which
help boost the growth of the trees.123
One study in China also shows that
rubber trees actually yield more when
grown with other crops than on its
own in a monoculture plantation.124
This is because fertile topsoil can be
lost due to erosion because of mono-
cropping, leading to lower yields
overall and over time.125                  Burmese Shrike Lanius collurioides. Habitat protection is crucial for the survival of Myanmar’s unique
                                           flora and fauna. © iStock
3. Poverty alleviation: If given the
right technical and financial support,
smallholder rubber, and particularly
rubber agroforestry, can provide a
stable livelihood for local farmers.
Smallholder income is greater than
the wages earned by farmers working                                India

as labourers in a concession model.
In addition, planting rubber with
other crops can provide food and fuel
for domestic consumption, as well as
other cash commodities on a shorter                Key                                                  Malaysia   Malaysia
                                                     Natural rubber produced by
term basis.126                                       smallholders domestically
                                                     Natural rubber produced by
4. Environmental and biodiversity                    large-scale plantations domestically
protection: In South East Asia,
large areas of rich biodiversity have         Malaysia                  India                     Indonesia                   Thailand
been put under great pressure from           10093%                     10092%                    10085%                      10090%
the establishment of plantations,             80                         80                        80                          80

including rubber.127 Monoculture
                                              60                         60                        60                          60

plantations have a particularly
                                              40                         40                        40                          40

detrimental effects on species
                                                             7%          20
                                                                                        8%         20              15%         20
diversity and ecosystems – a shift
                                               0                           0                        0                           0

to small-scale and more diverse
rubber systems could reduce these          other plantation, cannot be deemed                    inefficient with regards to carbon
impacts. Species diversity is higher       as ‘carbon positive’ – that is a                      sequestration.130 The authors of the
in agroforestry rubber systems than        sequester of carbon – if it is replacing              paper found that taungya in some
monocultures and studies have              intact natural forest. In addition,                   cases may be carbon-neutral or even
concluded that agroforestry systems        recent studies in one paper have                      carbon positive, compared with some
can play an important role in the          looked at the relationship between                    other types of land-use systems.131
conservation of primary                    the replacement of taungya fields                     The study concluded by highlighting
forest species.128                         with rubber in terms of carbon                        the uncertainties surrounding carbon
Rubber plantations have recently           sequestration in the context of global                stocks in various forms of land-use
been brought into the debate               REDD (Reducing Emissions from                         and stated that it is ‘impossible to
around carbon sequestration and the        Deforestation and Degradation)                        predict accurately the extent that
incorporation of rubber into carbon        policies. This is in part due to the                  REDD policies involving swidden-
markets.129 It should go without           fact that taungya fields are often                    rubber transitions will ultimately
saying that rubber, or indeed any          perceived to be degraded and                          increase carbon sequestration’.132
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

Conclusion and                                  however, merely go to show what            have prevented these measures from
                                                happens when vested interests are          being implemented effectively.137
                                                prioritised over genuine national          Consequently, in many communities
The governments of the largest                  development.                               farmers are struggling to maintain
rubber producing countries globally                                                        community land and forests in
                                                Drawing upon the experiences of
(Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and                                                         the face of growing pressure
                                                Thailand and India, it is clear that
India) have all deliberately introduced                                                    from investors and government
policies to support smallholder rubber          smallholder rubber production is a
                                                                                           institutions to impose concession
production.133 As outlined above,               viable and effective model to move
the reasons for this include on-going           households and communities out of
progressive land reform policies in             poverty. Farmers can better manage         The international community is
the different countries, interest from          their lands productively if their tenure   poised to invest in Myanmar’s rich
smallholders in establishing rubber,            and user rights are legally recognised     natural assets. The government
and the interest of governments to              and they are given the right technical     currently stands at a crossroads with
better control smallholder farms and            and financial support.135 On the           regards to how it takes advantage of
their production.134 Experts from the           other hand, externally-imposed,            such foreign investor interest. There
main rubber producing countries                 large-scale policies such as the           is growing demand, predominantly
continue to push for investments                commercial estates being established       from China, for natural rubber, and in
in smallholders in order to boost               in Cambodia and Laos negatively            Myanmar this will continue to drive
both the livelihoods of local farmers           affect smallholders and the country        a transition from traditional farming
and productivity in order to meet               overall.136 Even when laws and             systems to a landscape dominated
global demand. It is therefore well             policies have been drafted that            by cash crops, including rubber.
recognised by successful producer               could assist smallholders to maintain      The future of smallholders is not yet
countries that the future of global             control of their land and invest in        clear, but the decisions the Myanmar
rubber production continues to                  commercial crops, lack of capacity         Government makes now will impact
lie with smallholder farmers. The               and conflicting vested interests from      significantly on its people and
examples of Cambodia and Laos,                  government officials in both countries     environment for many years to come.

Rubber plantation in Kerala. © Global Witness
What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

Recommended actions for the Government of Myanmar
On rubber production:                                       d. Adopt the standard of Free, Prior and Informed
                                                               Consent as defined in the UN Declaration on the
1. Promote and protect smallholder rubber
                                                               Rights of Indigenous Peoples – to which Myanmar
   production. Support smallholder farmers through
                                                               is a signatory – for all communities potentially
   technology and knowledge transfer, access to
                                                               affected by rubber and other agricultural
   processing points and other extension services.
   Support and strengthen farmers groups in order
   to help boost the productivity and quality of           4. Undertake a participatory national land-use
   Myanmar’s rubber sector;                                   planning process in line with national land policy in
                                                              order to develop a formal framework that guides
2. Provide institutional support for rubber
                                                              decisions about existing and future land allocation,
   co-operatives in order to improve the efficiency
                                                              use, management and protection. This needs to
   and productivity of smallholders and, in turn,
                                                              include recognition of collective and customary
   secure greater commercial and economic benefits
                                                              land and user rights and identification of the areas
   for farmers;
                                                              most agronomically and economically feasible for
On governance of large-scale land concessions                 rubber and other commodity production. Draft
and land reform policy:                                       land use plans should be made available for review
The following recommendations apply to all land               and comment by smallholder farmers, civil society,
concessions, including rubber concessions. This               government representatives, and the private
includes the Opium Crop Substitution Programme                sector. Finalized land use plans should be made
(OCSP) and other programmes under which rubber                freely accessible to the public and government
concessions are allocated and managed:                        authorities, in all relevant languages;

3. Establish an overarching national land policy which     5. Ensure that Environmental and Social Impact
   serves the needs and rights of smallholder farmers         Assessments are undertaken for all land
   and guides, strengthens and aligns current laws            investments prior to contracts being secured
   governing land concessions. The land policy should:        in order to prevent deforestation and other
                                                              environmental impacts, and prevent forced
 a. Reform and align the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin
                                                              evictions. Ensure such assessments are sufficiently
    Lands Management Law, the Farmland Law and
                                                              rigorous to prevent projects from going forward if
    the Foreign Investment Law which govern rubber
                                                              the negative impacts are too great. Harmonise such
    and other agricultural concessions to ensure
                                                              assessments with existing environmental laws and
    that smallholder farmers, in particular ethnic
                                                              related regulation and ensure the results of such
    minorities, are protected and prioritised over
                                                              assessments are made public;
    large private investors; and establish legal clarity
    including definitions of key articles in the law;      6. Establish legal and judicial recourse for the
                                                              protection of land and user rights in order that
 b. Recognise and legally protect legitimate collective
                                                              socially unjust decisions around the use of land may
    and customary land tenure and user rights,
                                                              be challenged by affected communities;
    including taungya, across all laws. Adequate
    safeguards should be put in place to ensure land       7. End all land acquisitions that do not offer
    conflicts do not increase in the future;                  compensation to affected communities in line with
                                                              international standards;
 c. Adopt and implement the Voluntary Guidelines on
    the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land,            Establish and enforce a moratorium on any
    Fisheries and Forests and to make these standards        further large-scale land concessions until the
    legally binding;                                         above actions have been taken.

What Future for the Rubber Industry in Myanmar?

1    According to figures from the Land Matrix database at the time of          30 Burma Library Online, The Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands                   66 ‘When Freedom Meets Oppression: Timeline of Recent Events’,
     writing http://www.landmatrix.org/en/ (accessed February 25th 2014)           Management Law (Unofficial translation by UN Habitat) http://www.              LICADHO, February 9 2014 http://www.licadho-cambodia.org/
2    ‘Land Rights and the Rush for Land: Findings of the Global                    burmalibrary.org/docs13/VFVLM_Law-en.pdf (accessed 04 March                    articles/20140209/137/index.html
     Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project’, Anseeuw, W.,                  2014)                                                                       67 As described for example in OHCHR, Addendum to the Report of the
     Alden Wily, L., Cotula, L., Taylor, M., January 2012, http://www.          31 Burma library online, op. cit., Chapter 2, Article 3a.                         Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia
     landcoalition.org/sites/default/files/publication/1205/ILC%20GSR%20        32 Burma library online, op. cit., Chapter 3, Article 4.                          (A human rights analysis of economic and other land concessions in
     report_ENG.pdf, p.4                                                        33 Transnational Institute, op. cit., p.4                                         Cambodia, September 2012, p.2, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/
3    ‘Scaling up Agro-ecological approaches: What, Why and How?’,               34 Transnational Institute, op. cit., p.3-4; Food Security Working Group,         HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session21/A-HRC-21-63-
     Discussion paper, January 2014, Oxfam                                         op. cit., p.22-23                                                              Add1_en.pdf (accessed 07 January 2014)
4    ‘Framework for Economic and Social Reforms: Policy Priorities              35 Burma library online, Farmland Act (unofficial translation) http://www.     68 Muller F-V., Zulsdorf, G., ‘Old Policies – New Action: A Surprising
     for 2012-2015 towards the Long-Term Goals of the National                     burmalibrary.org/docs15/2012-Farmland_Act-Habitat-en-red-t&p.pdf               Political Initiative to Recognize Human Rights in the Cambodian Land
     Comprehensive Development Plan’, Republic of the Union of                     (accessed 04 March 2014)                                                       Reform’, GIZ, Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual World
     Myanmar, 14 December 2012, p.10, 12, 13                                    36 Farm Management/Administration Bodies are responsible for                      Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, The World Bank, - Washington
5    See ‘Developing Disparity: Regional Investment in Burma’s                     reviewing applications for the use of farmland and formally                    DC, April 8-11, 2013.
     Borderlands’, Transnational Institute, February 2013 http://www.tni.          recognizing/approving rights to use farmland, ‘Food Security Working        69 May Titthara and Shane Worrell, ‘Cambodia’s government takes
     org/briefing/developing-disparity                                             Group’s Land Core Group, op. cit., p.11; Burma library online,                 back land,’ Phnom Penh Post, 7 February 2013, http://sahrika.
6    Transnational Institute, op. cit., p. 28-40                                   Farmland Act (unofficial translation), op. cit., Chapter 5, Article 15 a.      com/2013/02/07/cambodias-government-takes-back-land/ (accessed
7    Woods, K., (2012),‘The Political Ecology of Rubber Production in              and b.                                                                         24 March 2013); Woods Ben and Phorn Bopha, ‘Ethnic minorities risk
     Myanmar: An Overview’, p.2                                                 37 Burma library online, op. cit., p.2                                            more than just land: choosing private land titles threatens indigenous
8    Framework for Economic and Social Reforms: Policy Priorities                                                                                                 communities’, Cambodia Daily, 06 December 2012.
                                                                                38 Transnational Institute, op. cit., p.3
     for 2012-15 towards the Long-Term Goals of the National                                                                                                   70 ADHOC, op. cit., p.10.
                                                                                39 Food Security Working Group, op. cit., p.19
     Comprehensive Development Plan, Republic of the Union of                                                                                                  71 Open Development Cambodia, Forest Cover Change 1973-2013
                                                                                40 Transnational Institute, op. cit., p.3
     Myanmar, 14 December 2012, p.10, English version. As stated in                                                                                               Interactive Map http://www.opendevelopmentcambodia.net/
                                                                                41 ‘Myanmar at Risk of Land-Grabbing Epidemic’, Asian Human                       briefings/forest-cover/
     the report, ‘poverty is frequently associated with landless farmers’          Rights Commission, http://www.humanrights.asia/news/alrc-news/
     with ‘landlessness (is) a problem facing 24% of those whose primary                                                                                       72 Open Development Cambodia http://www.
                                                                                   human-rights-council/hrc20/ALRC-CWS-20-03-2012, June 6th 2012
     economic activity is agriculture. Land ownership status and size                                                                                             opendevelopmentcambodia.net/maps/
                                                                                   (accessed 27 January 2014)
     directly correlates with the escape from poverty, demonstrating                                                                                           73 Forest Law (2007) Articles 75 and 76; McAllister, op. cit., p.3; EIA,
                                                                                42 Foreign Investment Law, http://export.gov/thailand/static/Foreign%20
     the significant contribution of asset ownership towards poverty                                                                                              ‘Crossroads: The illicit timber trade between Laos and Vietnam’,
                                                                                   Investment%20Law_Latest_eg_th_055982.pdf (Accessed 27 January
     reduction’, p.12, English version.                                                                                                                           2012, p.5 http://www.eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-
9    The use of the term ‘agriculture’ here includes livestock and fisheries;                                                                                     Crossroads-report-FINAL-low.pdf (accessed 29 January 2014)
                                                                                43 Foreign Investment Law, Chapter 6, Article 11a. and b., op. cit.
     Woods, K., op. cit. citing government data from 2008-09                                                                                                   74 World Bank, Laos PDR Environment: Overview http://web.
                                                                                44 op. cit., Chapter 6, Articles 11 a. and b.                                     worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/
10   op. cit. citing government data from 2008-09
                                                                                45 op. cit., Chapter 2, Articles 3-6                                              EXTEAPREGTOPENVIRONMENT/0,,contentMDK:20266320~
11   ‘Access Denied: Land Rights and Ethnic Conflict in Burma’,
     Transnational Institute 2013, p.1                                          46 Transnational Institute, op. cit., p.4                                         menuPK:537827~pagePK:34004173~
12   World Agroforestry Centre: An Introduction to Agro-forestry http://        47 Foreign Investment Law, Chapter 14, Articles 31 and 32, op. cit.               piPK:34003707~theSitePK:502886,00.html; Department of Forestry,
     www.worldagroforestry.org/units/Library/Books/Book%2032/an%20              48 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law, Chapter 4, Article             ‘Lao PDR Preliminary proposal for FIP’, Lao People’s Democratic
     introduction%20to%20agroforestry/html/6_taungya.htm?n=29                      11 a), b) and c)                                                               Republic, 2011, http://www.climateinvestmentfunds.org/cif/sites/
     (accessed 24 February 2014)                                                49 Foreign Investment Law, Chapter 14, Article 36, op. cit., p.18                 climateinvestmentfunds.org/files/Lao%20FIP%20Presentation%20
13   Woods, K., op. cit., p.2-3                                                 50 Woods, K., op. cit., p.3                                                       Pilot%20Country%207%20Nov.pdf (accessed 07 January 2014)
14   EcoDev, 2008.The Result of Impact Monitoring and Assessment                51 Woods, K., op. cit., p.4                                                    75 ‘The Financial Risks of Insecure Land Tenure: An Investment View’,
     2008 (Final Report). Yangon: the Human Development Initiative              52 MRPPA, National Plan for Rubber Planting & Production (2013-14 to              The Munden project (2012) prepared for the Rights and Resources
     of the United Nations Development Program in Myanmar cited                    2030-31)                                                                       Initiative http://mundenproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/
     in ‘Supporting Evidence of Land Reform’, Food Security Working             53 For further information see ‘Rubber Barons: How Vietnamese                     doc_5715.pdf (accessed 07 January 2014)
     Group, p.5 http://www.myanmarfswg.org/source/download/land_                   Companies And International Financiers Are Driving A Land-Grabbing          76 op. cit., p.5
     update_15_10_2013/Policy_Paper/Media_Point/FSWG-LCG%20                        Crisis In Cambodia And Laos’, Global Witness, May 2013                      77 op. cit., p.3
     Media%20Points%20with%20Supporting%20Evidence%20on%20                         www.globalwitness.org/rubberbarons (accessed 07 February 2014)              78 ‘Global Capital, Local Concessions: A Data-Driven Examination of
     Land%20Reform%20(May%202012)%20(ENG).pdf                                   54 Or 1.1 million hectares, Michael Epprecht, Heinimann A., Lu J.,                Land Tenure Risk and Industrial Concessions in Emerging Market
15   Woods, K., op .cit., p.3                                                      Palikone T. and Schönweger O., Concessions and Leases in Lao PDR:              Economies’, paper prepared for the Rights and Resources Initiative,
16   International Rubber Study Group cited in Woods, K., op. cit., p.1;           Taking stock of land investments, 2012, p.9 and 75, http://www.                September 13th 2013 http://www.rightsandresources.org/documents/
     Presentation by Teo Ser Luck, World Rubber Summit, Singapore, April           decide.la/MoNRE_Book/Concessions-Leases-LaoPDR_2012.pdf                        files/doc_6301.pdf
     2012                                                                          (accessed 07 January 2014)                                                  79 op. cit., p.1
17   Hla Myint. 2008. “Development of Rubber Planting Industry in               55 The total land mass of Laos is 230,000km2, 4.01% of which is                80 op. cit., p.2
     Myanmar: Review and Major Constraints.” IRRDB International                   arable, which is equivalent to 9,255.08km2. Therefore, 1.1 million          81 Global Witness, www.globalwitness.org/rubberbarons (accessed 7
     Natural Rubber Conference, KL, Malaysia. 13-15 October cited in               hectares is 118 per cent of this arable area, source: CIA Factbook,            January 2014)
     Woods, K, op. cit.; Phin Keong, V., ‘The Rubber Industry of Burma,            The World Factbook: Laos, CIA Online, https://www.cia.gov/library/          82 VietnamNet http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/business/74323/
     1876-1964’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies Vol. 4, No. 2 (Sep.,           publications/the-world-factbook/geos/la.html (accessed 07 January              business-in-brief-18-5.html (accessed 15 January 2014)
     1973), p.216-228                                                              2014)                                                                       83 ‘Credit Suisse ignored human rights commitments and became major
18   ‘Developing smallholder rubber production: Lessons from AFD’s              56 IISD, ‘Business models for foreign investment in agriculture in                shareholder in Vietnamese rubber giant 2 weeks after land grab
     experience’, Delarue, J., Agence Française de Développement, 2009,            Laos,’ Trade Knowledge Network of the International Institute for              scandal’, Global Witness press release, 13 December 2013 http://
     http://www.oecd.org/countries/ghana/44662138.pdf p.8-9                        Sustainable Development, July 2012, p.17, http://www.iisd.org/                 www.globalwitness.org/library/credit-suisse-ignored-human-rights-
19   op. cit.                                                                      publications/pub.aspx?pno=1686 (accessed 28 January 2014)                      commitments-and-became-major-shareholder-vietnamese; ‘Deutsche
20   Woods, K., op. cit., p.2                                                   57 Douangsavanh et al. (2008) cited in Fox, J., and Castella, J., (2013),         Bank divests from Vietnamese land grabber HAGL following Global
21   op. cit., p.1                                                                 ‘Expansion of rubber (hevea brasiliensis) in Mainland Southeast Asia:          Witness exposé’. 03 December 2013 http://www.globalwitness.
22   op. cit.                                                                      what are the prospects for smallholders?’, The Journal of Peasant              org/library/deutsche-bank-divests-vietnamese-land-grabber-hagl-
                                                                                   Studies, 40:1, 155-170,p.163                                                   following-global-witness%E2%80%99-expose (accessed 25 February
23   op. cit., p.1-2
                                                                                58 op. cit.                                                                       2014)
24   Hla Myint, Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association
                                                                                59 op. cit.                                                                    84 CAO Ombudsman, CAO cases, East Asia & Pacific http://www.
     (MRPPA). Data is for the year 2012-13
                                                                                60 Prime Minister Hun Sen, Speech Cambodia Outlook Conference, 22                 cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=212; ‘Cambodian
25   470,066 acres out of a total of 1, 435, 931 acres, MRPPA, Rubber                                                                                             communities submit complaint to World Bank over bankrolling
     Planted Area and Production by States/Regions (2012-13) data                  February 2013; Neou Vannarin and Simon Lewis, ‘Hun Sen shares
                                                                                   vision of rubber plantation boom’, Cambodia Daily Online, http://              of Vietnamese rubber giant behind land grabs and human rights
26   ‘Over 60 per cent of the agricultural concessions (mainly biofuel and                                                                                        abuse’, Global Witness press release, 09 February 2014 http://www.
     rubber) are located in just two regions: Tanintharyi Region and Kachin                                                                                       globalwitness.org/library/cambodian-communities-submit-complaint-
                                                                                   plantation-boom-11253/ (accessed 26 February 2014)
     State - two of the most forested regions in the country. Data suggests                                                                                       world-bank-over-bankrolling-vietnamese-rubber-giant (accessed 26
     that conversion timber from these agricultural concessions located         61 Based on Chapter 5 of the 2001 Land Law, the 2002 Forestry
                                                                                   Law, Articles 3 and 5 of the 2005 Sub-decree on Economic                       February 2014)
     in forested regions is mostly legal with government approval from                                                                                            ‘Cambodian communities submit complaint to World Bank over
     both ministries of agriculture and forestry and exported via Yangon’,         Land Concessions (ELCs), the 2008 Protected Area Law, and the
                                                                                   Cambodian government’s obligations to international human                      bankrolling of Vietnamese rubber giant behind land grabs and human
     Timber Trade Flows and Actors in Myanmar: The Political Economy                                                                                              rights abuse’, Global Witness press release, 09 February 2014 http://
     of Myanmar’s Timber Trade, Forest Trends, November 2013, p.10;                rights conventions, http://cambodia.ohchr.org/EN/PagesFiles/
                                                                                   InternationalLawsIndex.htm (accessed 7 January 2014)                           www.globalwitness.org/library/cambodian-communities-submit-
     Woods, K., op. cit., p.5                                                                                                                                     complaint-world-bank-over-bankrolling-vietnamese-rubber-giant
27   ‘Legal Review of Recently Enacted Farmland Law and Vacant, Fallow          62 United Nations Development Programme, Key Facts about Poverty
                                                                                   Reduction in Cambodia , UNPD Online, last updated 2 March 2012,                (accessed 26 February 2014)
     and Virgin Lands Management Law: Improving the Legal and Policy                                                                                           85 Business and Human Rights Resource Centre http://www.business-
     Frameworks Relating to Land Management in Myanmar’, Food                      http://www.un.org.kh/undp/what-we-do/poverty-reduction/poverty-
                                                                                   reduction (accessed 28 January 2014); USAID Feed the Future,                   humanrights.org/SpecialRepPortal/Home/Protect-Respect-Remedy-
     Security Working Group’s Land Core Group, November 2012                                                                                                      Framework/GuidingPrinciples (accessed 29 January 2014)
     http://www.forest-trends.org/documents/files/doc_3274.pdf, p.19               Cambodia country profile, http://www.feedthefuture.gov/country/
                                                                                   cambodia (accessed 28 January 2014)                                         86 op. cit., Foundation Principle 2
28   For example, in Cambodia under the 2001 Land Law, the Philippines                                                                                         87 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, http://www.fao.org/nr/tenure/
     under the 1997 Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and Liberia under the         63 ‘Cambodia Universal Periodic Review Submission 2013’,
                                                                                   Human Rights Watch, January 07 2014 http://www.hrw.                            voluntary-guidelines/en/ (accessed 29 January 2014)
     2013 Land Policy
                                                                                   org/news/2014/01/07/cambodia-universal-periodic-review-                     88 For example, see Michelin’s Purchasing Principles www.michelin.
29   Transnational Institute (2013), op. cit.; ‘Farmers warned against                                                                                            com/corporate/EN/.../Michelin-purchasing-principles.pdf (accessed 29
     ‘fragmentary’ new law’, Aung, S, DVB online, 6 September 2013                                                                                                February 2014)
     http://www.dvb.no/news/farmers-warned-against-fragmentary-new-             64 ADHOC, A Turning Point? Land, Housing and Natural Resources
                                                                                   Rights in Cambodia in 2012, February 2013, p.7, http://adhoc-               89 Thailand Rubber Association, Thai Rubber Statistics, NR production of
     law-burma-myanmar/32269; ‘Legal Review of Recently Enacted
                                                                                   cambodia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/ADHOC-A-Turning-Point-                 Thailand by type in 2002-2013 http://www.thainr.com/en/detail-stat.
     Farmland Law and Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management
                                                                                   Land-Housing-and-Natural-Resources-Rights-in-2012.pdf (accessed                php?statID=240 (accessed 29 February 2014)
     Law: Improving the Legal and Policy Frameworks Relating to Land
     Management in Myanmar’, Food Security Working Group’s Land Core               07 January 2014) p.38                                                       90 Thai Rubber Association, Thai Rubber Statistics, NR export quantity
     Group, November 2012 http://www.forest-trends.org/documents/               65 ‘Cambodia: Unfair Elections Fuel Protests: Attacks on Human Rights             and value in 2009-2012 (Ministry of Commerce) http://www.thainr.
     files/doc_3274.pdf                                                            Defenders and Land Grabs Continue, Human Rights Watch, January                 com/en/detail-stat.php?statID=212 (accessed 29 February 2014);
                                                                                   21 2014, http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/01/21/cambodia-unfair-                   Thai Rubber Latex Corporation http://www.thaitexgroup.com/
                                                                                   elections-fuel-protests (accessed 07 January 2014)                             maain_page/index_our_company.php (accessed 05 March 2014)

You can also read
Next slide ... Cancel