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Farmers facing big challenges amid Covid seek aid

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Farmers harvest leafy green vegetables in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district. Facebook

Farmers facing big challenges amid Covid seek aid

The Cambodia Coalition of Farmer Community's (CCFC) on May 1 requested that the government find a long-term solution for farmers who are facing negative economic impacts due to Covid-19.

The CCFC is currently working with more than 20,000 families in 63 communities across 11 provinces in Cambodia.

CCFC president Theng Saroeun said on May 2 that the association issued a joint statement promoting farmers’ rights and suggesting solutions to the problems farmers are facing due to the pandemic.

“So far, our association has not yet received a government response to this statement. We will have a dialogue with the government working group regarding the contents of the statement and examine possibilities for additional ways to aid Cambodia’s farmers,” he said.

The CCFC requested that the government come up with a formal relief plan for farmers and assist in coordinating and providing technical support and capital to farmers so that they will continue to be able to plant crops and raise livestock to supply the domestic market. The group wants to see this process carried out in consultation with the public so the farmers themselves can provide input on strategies and methods.

The CCFC also requested increased investment in the agriculture sector and that the government incorporate and acknowledge farmers as part of the informal economic workforce by issuing a prakas or a sub-decree so that they can benefit from the social services and assistance being provided to the informal sector workers.

Sarouen also conveyed displeasure with some authorities’ recent treatment of farmers as relates to the lockdown measures.

He said the authorities should have dealt with any dispute with farmers by peaceful means, coordinating and sympathising with farmers who planted vegetables and had transported their agricultural produce to supply Phnom Penh during the lockdown.

“The authorities instead prevented and disrupted deliveries and even impounded the produce and threatened them. The activities received coverage in the media and have been shared on Facebook and it wasn’t just farmers who were displeased.

“This is not the right way to address Covid-19 problems or it isn’t fair to the farmers,” Saroeun said.

Agriculture ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy could not be reached for comment on May 2.

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