Cambodian rice farmers turn guardians of the forest

By the end of October each year, the trucks would begin rolling into Tmatboey in the remote northern plains of Cambodia, marking the final sprint among Nhem Siphan and hundreds of rice farmers harvesting their annual cash crop.

Buyers would stand over farmers, manipulate scales, understate the quality of crops, or renegotiate after coming to terms, knowing they held all the power in the transaction.

Desperate for cash, some would sell early at basement prices, while those who held out risked missing their one big pay day of the year, Siphan said.

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