Kampong Thom provincial governor Sok Lou said on Wednesday that his province is facing a shortage of more than 10,000 workers due to mass migrations.
Lou noted that the shortage creates a problem because 27 companies are currently investing in 110,000ha of economic land concessions for agriculture.
Speaking at a press conference organised by the Royal Government Spokesperson Unit on provincial progress and work plans, he said Kampong Thom has over 290,000ha for rice cultivation.
“We have a lot of jobs that require labour for 27 economic land concession companies, of which seven are foreign firms. They need more than 10,000 additional workers.
“The economic concession has benefited the whole province of Kampong Thom, but we have no more land available for the companies because the government has stopped providing the concessions,” Lou said.
He said concession lands in the province include tens of thousands of hectares of rubber plantations, which require 6,000 workers.
Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Pen Vannarith clarified at the press conference that there are over 700,000ha of rubber plantations in the province, 610,000ha of which are company-owned and the remaining 90,000ha family-owned.
Vannarith said 400,000ha are being used by companies to harvest resin while 50,000ha are for families to harvest. He said 6,000 more workers are needed to work the company-owned land.
Kampong Thom currently has four rubber processing plants, with seven more planned.
Vannarith said the agriculture sector in Kampong Thom province has improved year-to-year, but there are obstacles, such as the lack of an irrigation system. In addition, market demand is falling for agriculture products.
“In Kampong Thom, we have great potential in agriculture. We would benefit from more companies investing because we have the ability to produce cashew nuts, rubber, corn, beans and cassava, among other crops,” Vannarith said.
He noted that Kampong Thom is located in the centre of Cambodia, which makes it easy to quickly ship goods to other provinces.
According to Vannarith, Kampong Thom has 261 irrigation systems. They have helped 67 new farms irrigate over 130,000ha of paddy during the rainy season and more than 20,000ha during the dry season.
He said the main sources of water for the crops include the Sen River, which covers 265km in the province, Stoung River, which covers 153km, Taing Krasaing River, which covers 103km and Chinit River, which covers 293km.