Gov’t: A Foreign Bull for Every Commune by 2008

In a bid to combat decades of rampant inbreeding that have resulted in undersized cattle across the country, the Ministry of Agri­culture plans to donate a bull bred from foreign herds to every commune in Cambodia by 2008, officials said Monday.

But Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay voiced concern that the project could be used to buy votes for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP.

Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun, a CPP official, said all of Cam­bodia’s 1,621 communes will get at least one foreign-bred bull by 2008.

“We want our cattle to be larger, stronger, so they are strong enough to help plow the field. In Cambodia, cattle are still needed to help farmers out,” he said.

Over the last week, the ministry distributed 15 bulls to communes in Takeo province’s Tram Kak district, and 40 heifers to widows and handicapped people in Banteay Mean­chey province.

Chan Sarun said foreign donors brought 200 Brahman breed heif­ers and 20 Brahman bulls from the Philippines to the ministry’s breeding facility in Takeo province six or seven years ago.

So far, more than 1,000 calves have been born to the original herd. Some have been sold to farmers, while others have been given away.

Chan Sarun said the bull project is not politically motivated.

“I don’t care who says that. It’s important to help the bulls spread all over the country,” he said.

Vong Saroeun, governor of Phnom Kravanh district in Pursat province, said he would welcome any donated bulls.

“In my district, villagers say they want better bulls for breeding. The cattle they own are small,” he said.

But Son Chhay compared the project to a donation of water pumps to villages in Kandal prov­ince’s Sa’ang district by Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen in the 1990s.

After the CPP did poorly in the district in the 1998 national elections, the water pumps were taken away, Son Chhay said.

“This could be similar,” he said. “I don’t mind if this benefits the local people, but please distinguish be­tween the state and the party.”



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