Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers, coffee firm battle over Mondulkiri land

Villagers, coffee firm battle over Mondulkiri land

Ethnic Bunong villagers in Mondulkiri’s Pichreada district stand next to demarcation post yesterday that they claim was recently placed by KPIS Investment company. Photo supplied
Ethnic Bunong villagers in Mondulkiri’s Pichreada district stand next to demarcation post yesterday that they claim was recently placed by KPIS Investment company. Photo supplied

Villagers, coffee firm battle over Mondulkiri land

Tensions flared yesterday between 20 Bunong ethnic minority villagers and a coffee company operating on an economic land concession in Mondulkiri’s Pech Chreada district, prompting local authorities to investigate.

Villagers saw about 10 “K PIS Investment” workers planting coffee on farmland claimed by both the company and Bunong villager Sreum Pyounh in Bosra commune’s Poulo village, according to community representative Kreung Tola.

“We stopped the workers from planting, and an argument happened between the community and company’s administrative staff Mr. Vann Sunheng. We were about to attack each other,” Tola said.

Pyounh, 48, who is part of a group of 29 families locked in the dispute, claimed that he has farmed the land for five years, but the company started planting demarcations on his land.

“My rice has grown for seven days, but the company destroyed it by digging a furrow to plant coffee trees,” he said.

A district official, who wished to be identified only by his first name Chea, said he witnessed the confrontation and intervened to ease tensions.

“We were inspecting the dispute and an argument erupted. I coordinated to end the argument,” he said.

The feud began last year, according to Chea, who said the company was granted 500 hectares, of which it has used some 60 per cent. The company could not be reached for comment.

Tola yesterday said that the villagers plan on petitioning Prime Minister Hun Sen if local authorities do not resolve the dispute.

In a separate case, some 50 Bunong ethnic villagers from Keo Seima district’s Sre Chhouk commune delivered a request that 300 hectares of land be titled as community forest by provincial authorities, according to Sok Ratha, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.

Authorities have so far ignored requests to measure and title the community forest, Ratha said. Mondulkiri Provincial Governor Svay Sam Eang as well as Provincial Hall administrative director Hak Sophan both said they were too busy to comment on the case yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of