Burma: Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar AFFM releases public statement: We are an independent organization


Disunity is felt within the Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar (AFFM), however they announced last Monday, October 8th that they are an independent organization. “Actually, all federations are independent organizations. This statement was released because there is some disunity within our organization, which is the first time this has happened. We also wanted to clear up any possible misunderstandings, AFFM is an independent organization,” said AFFM’s secretary Ko Yay Aye.

The Federation of Trade Union-Burma (FTUB) helped AFFM to become internationally recognized. Despite this, AFFM will not become a member of FTUB because they don’t want to be under their control.

“It means AFFM is not under the control of any other organizations. We created it independently and we have registered it accordingly based on democratic government law. As an independent organization, we can connect directly with international organizations. We want to publicly announce this today,” said Ko Yay Aye.

AFFM is, however, a member of the International Union of Food (IUF). Becoming a member meant that they had to pay a membership fee but also means workers are taught technological skills and will have protection from labor related injuries (compensation and paid time off). AFFM is also required to be active in all IUF activities.

AFFM wants to become a countrywide federation and join the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). If AFFM joins with ITUC they can work together with the government and international business owners.

AFFM was founded on the 26th of August 2011 by farmers and agricultural workers from Karen State, Pago Division, Yangon Division, Irrawaddy division, Magway Division, Mandalay Division and Kachin State. They plan to spread their federation to the rest of the states and divisions in the country.


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ABM: I am not sure what we are really talking about. But, the current development within the KNU is a result of a series of violations of decisions, rules and conventions of the organization since before the beginning of the first round of talks. That’s what appears on the surface. But there are irreconcilable political ideologies that lie underneath that. So, different ways of thoughts and strategies. I asked an advisor to the three ex-EC members about their plan, after the cease-fire agreement is firmly established. The advisor said they will follow the political framework laid down by U Thein Sein administration without telling me his/her own political stand. At least, one of the leaders personally said to me on two occasions that the only place to do politics is the parliament, which is diametrically opposed to KNU policies and programs. Anyway, I did tell the advisor that the way things were transpiring would lead to a split. He/she agreed with me. (Also note that there are people who are eager to do business without thinking about any other things.

TY: Yes, they want to follow “the political framework” because they want to compete in 2015 election instead of waiting for ASSK to win and put our hope or unforeseen future on her after the election. The better way to do politics, “not the only place”, is in the parliament because they believe that the Karen revolution started in Rangoon and should be ended in there. From the border, Karen leaders can do little or nothing. Talking about policies & programs, they are men made. Every country or organization review and change their policies & programs according with the flow of time, change, situation and etc.

Posted by PKD