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Communal Farms

The communal farm system has been in existence only since 1981, when so-called producer cooperatives were established by a proclamation of the head of state; few operational details were available, in mid-1984. The counties and the several territories were directed to set up cooperative farms, which were mainly to grow upland rice. Figures for 1982 indicated that each county was responsible for starting farms that would occupy a total area of 3,500 acres. Thus 31,500 acres within the nine counties would be involved in the producer cooperative program. The farm area for each territory was unknown but appeared to be at least 1,500 acres. It was not clear whether sociopolitical views were a motivating factor, but increased food production and the generation of jobs were stated aims. Also believed to be a possible objective was the generation of funds for public works in the counties and districts that would replace the revenues lost when the military government abolished the hut, progress, and development tax after the coup. (This tax was restored in 1983. ) Farmers living within the area of a communal farm were required to contribute labor for the new undertaking, amounting to three days aweek at one of the communal farms during the harvest season. A farmer was apparently subject to a fine or imprisonment if he failed to comply.

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