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Ratanakkiri farmers to file complaint

FARMERS in Ratanakkiri province plan to file a complaint today with the rights group Adhoc, protesting what they deem excessively high compensation payments demanded by a rubber plantation owner who has accused the farmers of letting buffalo run wild on plantation land.

Yoeung Hampil, a 36-year-old farmer from O’Chum district, said five of his buffalo and seven belonging to another farmer had been caught on a rubber plantation late last week, and that the owner of the plantation demanded US$1,300 in compensation.

He said he struck a deal to give the owner two buffalo – which the owner valued at $600 each – and $100 in cash, but that the payment was too high.

“I do not want to pay, but I was forced to,” he said.

Adhoc provincial coordinator Pen Bonnar, who is processing the complaint on behalf of the farmers, said such cases were on the rise.

“The habits of tribal people and all the new farms are coming into conflict, and it will get worse if a solution is not found,” he said.

Provincial governor Pav Ham Phan said he was not familiar with the case, but that the payment was too high.

The owner of the rubber plantation could not be reached for comment.

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