Farmers petition to improve conditions

The government has three months to act on issues raised in a petition submitted on December 5 to the National Assembly and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries or risk a mass protest being staged. A group of 300 people, representing 2,260 families from Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kandal, Takeo, Preah Vihear, Tbong Khmum and Kampot provinces, handed over their petition urging the government to improve conditions to help farmers cope with the low prices of produce by setting aside $400 million for the agricultural sector. According to the petition, farmers were faced with a lack of access to markets which are now flooded with imported rice and vegetables from Vietnam and Thailand. Farmers are also being forced to sell their produce below market value or risk not selling any, they said. They also cited a lack of technical expertise in the production and processing of local produce. “I request that the government not import vegetables and rice from abroad. Please value our local products,” said Hul Douk, a farmer from Prey Veng province’s Kanhchriech district.

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