Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Is planting machinery what farmers need?



Is planting machinery what farmers need?

Is planting machinery what farmers need?

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to your article "Planting machinery imports set to improve rice farming" (June 4).

I grew up in Cambodia in the 1960s, and I cannot recall Khmer agriculture ever receiving this much attention. Like many other Khmers, I value and respect Khmer farming techniques.

Cambodia has some of the most fertile agricultural lands in the world and Khmer farming has always been small scale.

So, there are a number of reasons that I am concerned about the issues raised in this article.

First, it sounds to me that backers of this technology have not factored in the real equipment costs. For example, at US$11, 000 per piece, without mentioning the cost of maintenance and petrol, the total cost to a farmer would be too high.

Secondly, the French Development Agency (AFD) might be well-intentioned in supporting Khmer farmers with $3.55 million, but do they really mean well, or is this just an investment so they can sell machinery to poor Khmer farmers?

Thirdly, in today's globalised world, people's attitudes towards agricultural goods have changed and consumers are increasingly opting for organic foods.

So the question is, will this lead to large-scale industrial farming with more machines, more new bio-seeds, and more fertilisers; and what will the consequences be? Will it cost more to produce and sell; will it be organic; and will it hurt Khmer farmers?

Fourthly, we cannot assume that industrialising Cambodian agriculture will benefit all people. Cambodia is different from other parts of the world in that farmers are mostly unaware of world matters.

In fact, using industrial machines, new bio-seeds, and fertilisers can harm the environment and human health.

Engine oil, gasoline and diesel can leak, pollute and contaminate our rice fields, water, soil and the air. The conventional way of Khmer farming does not harm the environment - it costs less and is independent of large companies.

In addition, the conventional way of using cows and water buffalo to farm gives farmers livestock to grow and sell for meat or to lease to other farmers and save the environment.

In conclusion, what Cambodia really needs is to become the world's number-one organic food producer while saving the environment at the same time. If you are a Khmer farmer, you cannot allow yourself to be dependent on the industrialised world.

We have fertile land, vast water supplies and hard working farmers. But we need to have balanced small-scale farming while minimising the use of industrial technologies.

Chansokhy Anhaouy

Vancouver, Canada

Send letters to: [email protected] or P.O.鈥圔ox 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian