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Villagers in Sihanoukville ask for parcels of forest

Villagers in Sihanoukville ask for parcels of forest

Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on Wednesday made a field visit after villagers from the local communities requested a carve-out of parts of a 303-hectare forest land for 68 families in Prey Nub district’s Samrung commune.

Soum Sophat who represented the 68 families said the villagers were happy with the authority’s response, though they had little hope that their requests would be granted.

He said the villagers have made the same request for years but to no avail. Following the July 29 national elections, the authority made a field visit to determine if they could cede some plots of the forest land to the communities.

“Officials came to inspect the area but said they couldn’t promise anything as yet. They would forward our request to the Agriculture Ministry … so I don’t have much hope,” he said.

Villagers in the area are poor and do not have enough land to cultivate crops – their only source of income.

Sihanouk provincial hall spokesperson Y Thearin said his officials had inspected the area as requested by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to collect data before sending a report to it for further action.

“I don’t know about the outcome. It depends on the ministry. They asked us to find out if there are people living in the area, if the villagers really farm there and if there is forest land as claimed,” he said.

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