Agricultural experts are providing technical support in raising animals and growing crops as the first step for the 153 households who have agreed to relocate to the Run Ta Ek eco-village from the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Tea Kim Soth, director of the Siem Reap provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post that as a first step, officials are training them to raise animals – particularly chickens and fish – and grow vegetables to support themselves.
Of the 153 households, he said those who elected to raise chickens will not receive breeding fish. Those who decide to raise fish will be trained in making fish cages.
“Because agriculture requires people to be living on the land, we will start the process with them. Growing fruit is not a problem, but to raise animals and tend vegetable crops requires caretakers. So, as long as there are permanent dwellers here [Run Ta Ek], we are prepared to train them,” he said.
He added that officials will distribute four varieties of vegetables to all families who want to grow them – eggplants, blue cabbage, long beans and water spinach.
He noted that though agricultural officials have yet to plant tree saplings in the area, environment officials have helped by planting many kinds of fruit trees.
Provincial Department of Environment director Sun Kong told The Post on September 28 that authorities have helped clear 351ha of forest in the area and grown fruit trees on 71 plots of land. They are also continuing to plant them as more plots are cleared.
He said the efforts have received the assistance and support from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, the Apsara National Authority and the provincial administration. The operation was joined by park rangers, environmental officials and community members.
“Environment minister Say Samal is insistent that we make sure the land will support the new arrivals and give them the opportunity to earn extra income. These trees will provide a bounty of fruit to the residents. We are so far prepared to plant fruit trees on 255 plots of land,” he added.