Nearly 70 percent of the 53.3 million people who live in Myanmar rely on agriculture for their livelihood. As many as half are completely landless, and millions more farm with weak legal rights to the land they depend on. This insecurity perpetuates the cycle of poverty, seeds conflict, and leaves families vulnerable to land takings.
Recognizing that this situation threatens sustainable development, security, and stability, the government of Myanmar has prioritized land reform. Years of advocacy from farmers associations, civil society groups, and ethnic national organizations have helped raise awareness of land tenure insecurity, and the government has responded with a national land policy to begin to address these concerns. The ambitious agenda includes returning lost land to hundreds of thousands of farmers, protecting customary forest rights through issuing community forest certificates, reducing landlessness through land allocations, and strengthening the land rights of small farmers to increase smallholder productivity, strengthen food security, and spark rural development.