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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Veterans, rural poor in line for social land concessions: officials

Veterans, rural poor in line for social land concessions: officials

The Ministry of Land Management says it will distribute over 16,000 hectares of land to landless peasants and disabled army veterans

THE government plans to distribute over US$50 million worth of social land concessions to about 10,000 landless families across nine provinces, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction said at its annual conference Thursday.

Sareth Boramy, president of the ministry's land distribution and economic development project, said Sunday that the ministry would distribute land to families and disabled veterans in nine target provinces.

"Poor disabled soldiers and widows are given priority in the distribution of land, but they will not be given land ownership certificates until they have lived there for five years," he said.

According to a report released at last week's conference, 16,097 hectares of land concessions will be granted to families in Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Stung Treng, Kampot, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu.

All people will receive a plot of land measuring 20 metres by 40 metres, or a cultivation plot of between 1 and 2 hectares, depending on the size of their family.

"We want people to have their own land so that they are able to earn a living and get themselves out of poverty," he added.

Tackling landlessness

The first stage in this project was launched in November 2008, when the government distributed concession land to 3,000 poor families in Kampong Cham, Kratie and Kampong Thom provinces with support from the World Bank and German development agency GTZ.

Thun Saray, president of local rights group Adhoc, said Sunday that the plan to distribute social land concessions was to be applauded, but the government should be encouraged to take further action to resolve the problem of rural landlessness.

"The government should stop giving economic concession land to private companies, and then it must implement the distribution of social concession land to more poor families," he said.

According to a 2006 Oxfam study, 24 percent of the rural population does not own land.

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