Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers decry govt order to destroy reservoirs for farms




Villagers decry govt order to destroy reservoirs for farms

Villagers decry govt order to destroy reservoirs for farms

091203_05
Villagers survey the ruins of a home in Kampong Thom that was destroyed by Typhoon Ketsana when it hit Cambodia at the end of September. The storm killed 43 people.

Our people don’t have enough food to support their families.

STILL reeling from Typhoon Ketsana, farmers in Kampong Thom province say a government order to destroy 16 manmade reservoirs will put even more pressure on villagers still struggling to feed themselves.

The farmers have been digging the large reservoirs every year in a flooded forest area. During the wet season, the banks of the Tonle Sap river swell and douse the land, creating the flooded forests. When dry season comes, however, the farmers dig reservoirs in low-lying areas of the forest to retain a stock of water meant to feed their parched rice fields.

“We will have no food to eat, and we will starve to death if the government does not allow us to plant rice crops this dry season,” said Kim Sokhen, a representative of the farmers in Kampong Thom’s Baray district.

The government ordered the reservoirs destroyed last month after a Ministry of Water Resources report suggested that they were impacting natural fish habitats.

District and provincial governors are backing the farmers.

“Our people don’t have enough food to support their families because of the flooding caused by Ketsana,” said Kampong Thom Governor Chhun Chhorn. “The typhoon devastated their rice crops.”

He urged the government to delay destroying the reservoirs until next year, giving the farmers time to harvest their rice this dry season.

However, officials with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the farmers’ unsanctioned moves have wrecked swathes of the flooded forest and could have “serious impacts” on the fisheries sector.

“We do not want the rice crops to destroy our fisheries resources,” said Khem Chenda, director of the Department of Administrative Affairs at the ministry.

“We can’t delay destroying these illegal reservoirs because we need to open the channels for the fish to spawn in the flooded forest.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told