Tuesday,29 May

13.45- 15.30 : Land distribution and Reform

Presenters: Céline Allaverdian (Land Tenure Project Manager, GRET, allaverdian@gret.org)Jean-Christophe Diepart (Researcher, MRLG, jc.diepart@gmail.com)

Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) land - formerly called Wastelands - is a fuzzy land category and legal concept lying at the interstice of farmland, wetland and forest land. From the colonial era to the present, the State has viewed VFV lands as an untapped potential for the country’s agricultural development and used this narrative to promote large scale agricultural investments. In the past two decades however, the process of granting land use permits on VFV land has been associated with the confiscation of lands from smallholder farmers and conflicts. The pledge to redistribute confiscated land to original owners and landless and the investigative efforts on ongoing conflicts have been central in the endeavors of previous and current Governments. These actions have sparked many competing claims and interests. Based on previously unreleased secondary data, we first provide new insights into land use permits on VFV land: the institutional mechanisms mobilized to grant them, their evolution since the early nineties, their geography, their effectiveness in putting land under active cultivation and the conflicts they generate with smallholder farmers. Drawing on extensive field work in various sites through the country, we also examine current dynamics of land return and allocation of VFV land that are shaping and being shaped by new constellations of stakeholders and transform the relationship of people around the question of access to land and natural resources. Even if they are partly framed by institutions that are legacies from the past, we argue these transformations also nourish new frontiers dynamics.
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Continuities and changes in the frontiers: land conflicts and the intricacies of VFV land management in Myanmar

Céline Allaverdian (Land Tenure Project Manager, GRET, allaverdian@gret.org)
Jean-Christophe Diepart (Researcher, MRLG, jc.diepart@gmail.com)
Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) land - formerly called Wastelands - is a fuzzy land category and legal concept lying at the interstice of farmland, wetland and forest land. From the colonial era to the present, the State has viewed VFV lands as an untapped potential for the country’s agricultural development and used this narrative to promote large scale agricultural investments. In the past two decades however, the process of granting land use permits on VFV land has been associated with the confiscation of lands from smallholder farmers and conflicts. The pledge to redistribute confiscated land to original owners and landless and the investigative efforts on ongoing conflicts have been central in the endeavors of previous and current Governments. These actions have sparked many competing claims and interests. Based on previously unreleased secondary data, we first provide new insights into land use permits on VFV land: the institutional mechanisms mobilized to grant them, their evolution since the early nineties, their geography, their effectiveness in putting land under active cultivation and the conflicts they generate with smallholder farmers. Drawing on extensive field work in various sites through the country, we also examine current dynamics of land return and allocation of VFV land that are shaping and being shaped by new constellations of stakeholders and transform the relationship of people around the question of access to land and natural resources. Even if they are partly framed by institutions that are legacies from the past, we argue these transformations also nourish new frontiers dynamics.