The Ministry of Defence on Saturday signed an agreement with a Chinese company to create a 30,000-hectare tree plantation in Preah Vihear province, an official said yesterday.
Director of the Defence Ministry’s Development Department Lieutenant General Ouk Korsa said that Chinese firm Bigstar International (Cambodia) would cooperate with members of Intervention Division III to develop the agri-business.
Korsa said the plantation, which will include tree species for commercial sale such as acacia, will cover land already assigned to families in Division III and brigades 7, 8 and 9.
Families with plots of land used for the project will receive money from the sale of the timber, he said.
“We have signed the agreement with the company already, I think it will not take a long time. The company will send experts to cooperate with us and study further about the land conditions for planting the trees,” he said.
Yesterday Lieutenant General Srey Doek, deputy joint chief of staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the commander of Division III in Preah Vihear province, said the project would help boost the economic fortunes of military families in the area.
“With the project’s support, the army’s families that have joined their land with the project can earn money by selling the trees to the company in a partnership,” he said.
The deal is far from the first between the military and private business.
A sub-decree in 2010 formalised corporate sponsorship of RCAF unit’s by private companies. Under the arrangement, troops have been accused of serving the business interests of their sponsors, often using violence and forced evictions.