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Ministry stamps out butts

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries yesterday cancelled an import permit for a Cambodian company after it came to light that “natural fertilizer” it had ordered from Ukraine was composed largely of cigarette butts, a ministry statement said.

The declaration also instructed lower-level agricultural officials to collect the tainted fertiliser, which had been imported by the Pen Lim Trading Group.

“The municipal-provincial agriculture department needs to report immediately to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries about the progress of the work involved with the above case,” the announcement read.

Ministry spokesman Eang Sophallet said yesterday that the permit had been cancelled because the fertiliser in question differed from an earlier sample presented to the ministry.

“The sample did not consist of cigarette filters, so in the case in which a company imports a product which is different from the sample, the ministry has to take measures under the law of agricultural chemical substances and fertiliser,” he said.

Sophallet added that ministry would collect evidence and, if it found the fertiliser differed from the sample, would file a lawsuit in court.

Pen Lim, chairman of Pen Lim Trading Group, could not be reached for comment yesterday. On Monday, however, he defended the fertiliser, and said that the 10 tonnes of it found to contain cigarette butts by a man hired to transport it belonged to a 30 tonne shipment stolen by a rogue employee.

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