Farmers in two Battambang districts shut down major roads over the weekend, in protest of low corn prices, according to local officials.
Song Sopheak, Phnom Proek district police chief, said that around 100 families blocked the roads in his district on Saturday for more than two hours. Sopheak said the villagers drove tractors onto national roads 59B and 57, demanding authorities help negotiate a better price.
“They said this year the corn price is down, so they want the authority to help them negotiate with the broker. They said this year the broker only gives them 3.1 baht [around $0.09] per kilo of corn. So now the villagers want 3.4 baht, and the dealers agreed to buy with this price,” Sopheak said, adding that last year corn was sold for 4 baht per kilo.
Kim Ponlork, Sopheak’s counterpart in Kamrieng district, said around 100 villagers protested in his jurisdiction on Friday as well.
“They blocked the roads because the commune chief promised to find a market for them when they were campaigning but now they don’t do it,” Ponlork said.
Nhek Sakun, deputy provincial chief, said Battambang authorities had resolved the dispute and secured the higher price but that a national team will investigate which “tricky” brokers were involved in offering low prices.