The Ministry of Environment on Wednesday announced that it had reduced the lease terms of another 12 of the economic land concessions (ELCs) it administers to 50 years, adding to the 16 whose terms it similarly reduced last month. In six months, another two will have their leases cut to 50 years, according to the ministry.
The government grants concessions mainly for industrial-scale cash-crop cultivation for terms of up to 99 years.
But it has come under heavy criticism for letting the companies steal land from local farmers and launder valuable timber from surrounding forests.
The Environment Ministry announced its plans to gradually reduce the lease terms of all 113 of its ELCs after a review process to determine which of the concessions had been breaking their contracts, but the ministry has failed to explain the reason for the change.
The ministry said all of the latest ELCs slated for lease reductions were in Kratie, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Ratanakkiri provinces but identified none of them by name.