Last update:
2018-03-19

Yuzana agricultural concession in Hukawng Valley, Kachin state, Myanmar

Powerful actors behind this 81,000ha biofuels crop concession. Kachin groups resist the plantation development , demanding a return of their croplands and the protection of a very large tiger reserve.


Description:

The development of the massive Yuzana Co. agricultural concession within territories of ethnic Kachin communities have caused a bitter struggle against land grabbing, as the civil society organization Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) has reported for more than a decade [1]. The 200,000 acres (81,000ha) “agricultural development zone” concession was granted by Senior General Than Shwe in 2006 to the Yuzana company, which is among the biggest Burmese companies (see project details). The formal purpose of the concession was to develop biofuel crops (cassava, jatropha and sugarcane) to feed the Chinese biofuels markets [2]. It is in an area where locals lived and relied on subsistence agriculture and forest products for decades before the concession arrived. The area is also incredibly rich in biodiversity and inhabits globally threatened species such as the Panthera tigris. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict: Yuzana agricultural concession in Hukawng Valley, Kachin state, Myanmar
Country:Myanmar
State or province:Kachin state
Location of conflict:Hugawng valley, between Danai and Hpakant townships
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Establishment of reserves/national parks
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Deforestation
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Specific commodities:Cassava
Land
Jatropha
Sugar
Timber
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The Hugawng Valley was declared a tiger reserve by the Myanmar Government in 2001, supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The reserve was extended to 21,890 km2 in 2004, making it the world’s largest tiger reserve. Around 50,000 people have been leaving in the valley, the majority of which being of Kachin ethnicity [1].

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Project area:81,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:at least 8,600
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Yuzana Co. Ltd. from Myanmar - operating company
Relevant government actors:Senior General Than Shwe
International and Finance InstitutionsWildlife Conservation Society (WCS) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Hugawng Valley Farmer Social Committee
Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Kachin ethnic groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Prayer meetings
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Migration/displacement
Repression
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project goes on.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Woods, K., 2011. Ceasefire capitalism: Military-private partnerships, resource concessions and military-state building in the Burma-China borderlands. J. Peasant Stud. 38, 747–770.
[click to view]

[1] KDNG 2010. Tyrants, Tycoons and Tigers: Yuzana Company Ravages Burma’s Hugawng Valley. Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) (accessed online 13.03.2018)
[click to view]

[4] Papworth, S., Rao, M., Oo, M.M., Latt, K.T., Tizard, R., Pienkowski, T., Carrasco, L.R., 2017. The impact of gold mining and agricultural concessions on the tree cover and local communities in northern Myanmar. Science Reports. 7, 1–11.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[6] Kachinnews online article, 25 January 2011. Burmese Army stockpiles weapons in Yuzana Company, Hukawng Valley. (accessed online 13.03.2018)
[click to view]

[3] Word Rainforest Movement, 2010. Burma: Farmers fight plantation company threatening protected forests and tiger reserve in Hugawng Valley. Boletin 159. (accessed online 13.03.2018)
[click to view]

[5] Open letter to the president, from 10 May 2016: Request for returning the lands confiscated by Yuzana Company in Hugawng. Signed by Hu Khaung Local Farmers (8603). (accessed online 13.03.2018)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Youtube video, published by Kachin Development Networking Group: Hugawng Tiger Reserve.
[click to view]

Other documents

Concession area Source: KDNG report [1]. See http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs09/TyrantsTycoonsandTigers.pdf
[click to view]

Evicted villagers left with nothing Source: KDNG report [1]. See http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs09/TyrantsTycoonsandTigers.pdf
[click to view]

Villagers' homes set on fire Source: KDNG report [1]. See http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs09/TyrantsTycoonsandTigers.pdf
[click to view]

Yuzana factory in 2010
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team (ejatlas.asia"at"gmail.com)
Last update19/03/2018
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