The Battambang provincial Department of Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries on Wednesday launched a campaign to crack down on illegal trafficking of fertilisers and pesticides through the Cambodian-Thai border.
The initiative was made after a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries delegation conducted inspections in three districts – Sampov Loun, Phnom Proek and Kamrieng – located along the border on Tuesday.
During the inspection, they discovered that some farmers had smuggled fertilisers and pesticides from Thailand.
However, the farmers did not sell or distribute the goods at the local markets, said Chhim Vichara, the director of the provincial agricultural, forestry and fisheries department.
“They only smuggled one or two bags for personal use. Nevertheless, their action affected the local companies that are authorised to import fertilisers and pesticides into Cambodia,” he told The Post.
Vichara said his team would “educate” the farmers not to continue acquiring the agricultural products which are not registered and come without instructions in Khmer as they could contribute to environmental and health risks.
According to Vichara, as the first step, his team would inspect the stalls and shops that sell fertilisers and pesticides in strategic areas near the border, such as Sampov Loun, Phnom Proek, Kamrieng and Samlot districts.
The next phase, he noted, would be at urban areas and other districts in the province.
Mey Chanthol, head of a border protection unit based in Phnom Proek district, said his unit has received instructions from the department to intercept the trafficking of all types of unlicensed fertilisers and pesticides, “no matter how small the amount is”.
He admitted that his team was previously lenient on the practice as the farmers “were really poor”.
Under the new order, any importing of such products for personal use required the approval of the authorities.
“I am a law enforcement officer, therefore, I am obliged to follow the instructions issued by the authorities who had sought to collaborate with my unit to solve this matter,” Chanthol said.
Meanwhile, Nou Pich, the deputy head of liaison office at Duong International Border Checkpoint in Kamrieng district, said on Wednesday that “local farmers would not respond well to the new regulation if the authorities do not disseminate information in detail”.