Traditionally Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, had a secondary level of land use for agriculture, with most inhabitants experiencing sub is stance farming for their own families and community. Little else was done on an organized basis although the country became famous for it’s natural wealth of rubies.
Whilst rubies may arouse thoughts of fabulous jewellery, anyone who has seen a laser scanner in use at a shop or market will know that rubies have a rather more prosaic value.
The government of Myanmar is presently conducting a resource audit to establish just what is beneath and on the surface of the earth in it’s farming and agricultural land but also in the highlands and mountains. What ever todays world financial climate brings tomorrows problems will need joined up thinking a, if the Country is to prosper and b, if the people are going to prosper.
Commercial and industrial behemoths stride the globe placing pressure, upward pressure, on prices and physical pressure on the land. Consider the Amazon region of Brazil, until relatively recently the Amazon basin was virgin forest. Flyover now and many millions of hectares are under agriculture producing ethanol producing vegetation and soya beans to feed the World Wide demand for reductions in the carbon footprint of entire nation states and the dietary requirements of populations seeking dairy free foods.
Industrial development in Myanmar is, of course, essential and necessary to propel the nation into the business league of rapidly growing nations. Industrial expansion requires land, Myanmar has land in plentiful supply, but Government, and populations may resist an industrial land grab, or simply if the price escalates rapidly as people see a Brazilian style land grab coming to Myanmar then economics may halt that progress.
Do we want rape of forests, intensive farming driving indigenous people off the land, as happened there. Sensible management must surely prevail. Arguments such as these will be in the mind of those who have ordered the Resources (Land) audit.
With the prospect of such pressure having a downward effect, or backwards even, it is essential to have an alternative plan of action. With the assurance that Land will always be there, as will resources beneath the ground, and as long as they are left there they will not depreciate but will conversely appreciate in value, land use can stay pretty much as it is.
Wisdom may suggest that industrial growth, expansion, and with it land use will gather pace. With Industrial infrastructure comes population growth, demand for housing, demand for intensified food production, mining of natural resources on a major scale, transportation and processing, national wealth and prestige.
Proven wealth in metals such as lead, gold, copper, plus coal and lignite, and precious stones, rubies, as mentioned, and sapphires. Proven wealth in potential growing land, that if properly managed will feed the population expansion and people across the globe. These are matters of great significance, so however, is tourism.
Tourism brings Dollars and Pounds Sterling and every other currency of note right into the country’s who encourage cultural tourism and holidaying visitors from around our shrinking world. There are vast opportunities whatever the proponents and their adversaries have to say. One thing is certain. Land will always be there, it is a fixed asset, it has immeasurable value, not least to the people who live on it.