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Rice Surplus

Rice Surplus

If arithmetic is to be trusted, the numbers given in Vong Sokheng's article [Half million ton rice surplus in 2003, Vol. 13, No. 2, January 16-29] imply the following datum:

1. Taking an average of 2 tons per hectare, 21,000 square kilometres of Cambodia are cultivated with rice.

2. Taking an average of 8 persons per family and 75 percent of the population living in the countryside, it results in one million rural households, each of them having an average of 2.1 hectares and consuming 1.3 tons of rice a year to feed themselves. Six thousand five hundred square kilometres would be needed just to provide the basic food from one hectare per family to have a chance to escape poverty. Very few families have this minimum.

It seems therefore that the fight against poverty should go to land redistribution. An opportunity was there in the 1990s but as usual 'a few were more equal than most.'

- Claude Rabour, Phnom Penh

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