More than 4 tons of golden apple snails were destroyed at a ceremony in Kampot province’s Chhuk district on Friday, in a government bid to make people more aware of the pest that officials have warned could pose a threat to rice paddies across Cambodia.
An additional 3 tons of the snails, which differ from native snails in their appetite for the rice plant, were burned in the district on Monday, officials said Friday.
“We collected tons of snails over the week,” said Puth Chandartith, Kampot provincial governor. “We noticed that this snail has been increasing fast recently.”
The province’s agriculture department has been paying farmers 300 riel for every kilogram of the snail they produce, and 50 riel for each nest. Chan Chesda, the director of the department, said the department spent more than $3,000 buying snails and hives from 735 farmers in the district’s Sat Pong commune between last Sunday and Friday.
The money to pay the villagers was donated by the Ministry of Agriculture during Minister Chan Sarun’s trip to Kampot on Oct 22, he added.
Chan Sarun warned the villagers about the snail following a visit to Svay Rieng province where he had noticed it in recent weeks, Chan Chesda said.
Chan Chesda said farmers had been unaware of the snail, which he said was originally brought into the province by families who had found it in Thailand and wanted to raise it for food. “Now they do know [of its dangers] and will keep on catching them by themselves in the future,” he said.