Ratanakkiri provincial authorities and BirdLife International Cambodia Programme have urged Hoang Anh Lumphat Co Ltd to preserve the habitat of endangered fauna species in a protected area and discontinue forest clearing.
Hoang Anh Lumphat operates on an economic land concession (ELC) within Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary.
The call was made during a meeting on Friday at the provincial hall. It was led by provincial deputy governor Yim Panh and attended by representatives from the relevant provincial departments, the company and BirdLife which is an NGO.
BirdLife manager Bou Vorsak said the meeting was aimed at boosting the company’s participation in conservation efforts aimed at endangered animal habitats present in the wildlife sanctuary.
Vorsak said the company’s representative had agreed to comply without specifying a concrete timeframe as it said it had to first discuss the matter with its senior management at its headquarters in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“We requested Hoang Anh Lumphat to help preserve rare animals and their habitats and not to clear the forest,” he said while handing over six photographs showing endangered species at the wildlife sanctuary to the provincial authorities.
Vorsak acknowledged that the company had considered the request as very important, saying: “He understands our difficulties [in preserving the animals].”
Provincial agriculture administration director Soy Sona said on Sunday that he was not present at the meeting, but confirmed that Hoang Anh Lumphat had agreed to entertain the authorities’ requests.
“The Vietnamese firm was granted ELC by the government. As far as I know, it has been planting bananas [on its ELC], nothing else,” Sona said.
Phon Khemerin, the director of the provincial environment department, echoed similar remarks. He said the firm was in the process of discussion with its top brass in Vietnam.
Hoang Anh Lumphat Co Ltd was granted rights to take over the ELC from Hoang Anh Daun Penh Agrico Co Ltd. In late March of 2014, the former was alleged to have logged outside of its concession area.