Published: 12/12/2014
Workers and small farmers must build collective bargaining power in the face of growing corporate control of agriculture or risk falling into debt and dependency. Organizing to build that power was the theme of the October 26-November 4 ‘Beware of Contract Farming’ training workshops for members of the IUF-affiliated Agriculture and Farmers Federation of Myanmar (AFFM-IUF), in which 150 agricultural workers and small farmers from seven village level unions in the states of Kachin, Ayeyarwaddy and Bago took part.

Workshop participants learned from the successful experiences of poultry contract farmers in Thailand who organized the “Chicken Action Network” (CAN) with the support of the IUF. Formed by farmers left massively in debt when the poultry processor they supplied went bankrupt before paying them, CAN supports collective bargaining for fairer contracts for farmers supplying the major food and beverages companies and supermarkets.


“Contract farming is a fairly new issue here and people are not yet aware yet of the possibility that farmers could fall into serious debt. As members of AFFM-IUF we can organize ourselves better against being exploited by companies and middlemen.”