Cassava Farmers Protest Over Failure to Pay

Protests over the weekend by cassava farmers in Oddar Meanchey province’s Banteay Ampil district, who accuse a local businesswoman of failing to pay them for their crops, saw authorities take the dispute to the provincial court on Sunday, the district governor said on Monday.

About 70 farmers staged a protest in Banteay Ampil district’s Kokmon commune Saturday, calling on officials to take action against businesswoman Nhean Rith, who they say cheated them out of 300 tons of cassava.

“I joined the protest to demand the middleman pay me because I sold cassava but never got paid,” said Morm Roeun, 52, who claims Ms. Rith owes him $130 for about 800 kg of cassava.

“We will continue to protest against her until we are paid for all the cassava,” he added.

District governor Haing Meng said he had asked the Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court to resolve the dispute.

“We should let the court work on this case because we are unable to solve the problem,” he said.

Ms. Rith has in turn accused businessman Un Sam Ech, to whom she sold the cassava, of owing her $35,000 of the $48,000 price they had agreed on for the 300 tons, saying she would file a complaint against him if he did not clear the debt.

However, Mr. Sam Ech said he had paid Ms. Rith in full, going on to accuse her of failing to supply him with an additional 50 tons of cassava for which he paid $7,620.

“I am a victim because Nhean Rith cheated me of my money,” he said.

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