Thirty-two families in Kampong Chhnang’s Teuk Phos district filed a complaint to rights group Adhoc yesterday, reporting they had been pressured by local authorities to sell their land for just $150 per hectare.
The land is being accumulated by a man seeking to develop it as a cassava plantation who has bought over 1,000 hectares.
“I want to keep the land to farm and support my family in the future,” said 40-year-old resident Chan San. He said the local authorities told him that if he didn’t agree to move, they would force him to.
“Compared with the market price, it is so cheap – it’s like giving it away for free,” said Adhoc coordinator Sam Chankea. He said that 400 families in the area had already agreed to sell. In 2014, the government provided families three hectares of land each in Kraing Skear commune, but now most of them have decided to relinquish their property for a small profit, he added.
Chhoub Phoen, an assistant to the Kraing Skear commune chief, said that none of the sales had been forced, and most “agreed because they think don’t have ability to develop the land”.
Chan Kean, a representative for the developer, also stated that acquisitions were not forced.