Ten Thousand Palm Trees to Fence Off Stung Treng, Laos

Some 10,000 palm trees will be planted along Stung Treng province’s 224-km border with Laos over the next five years to create a natural fence that reflects the Cambodian identity, local officials said on Tuesday.

The planting of seeds along the first 30 km began on Monday, said Minh Sidchay, director of Stung Treng’s rural development department, with provincial governor Mom Saroeun leading police, military police and students in the effort.

About 50 km of the border will be planted each year until all 10,000-odd trees are installed, Mr. Sidchay said.

“This is the first step in leading people to plant the palm trees,” he said. “We are trying to plant the palm trees along the border step by step to complete the border between Stung Treng and Laos.”

Mr. Sidchay said palm trees were a symbol of Cambodia’s national identity.

“Palm trees are part of the Khmer identity and the Khmer soul,” he said, adding that there was another, more practical, reason for the choice. “The palm tree is a kind of plant that is very strong and big and can bear the weather.”

Mr. Sidchay said palm trees were also appealing because the seeds are inexpensive, and that the natural fence would set the provincial government back just $500, including the cost of transporting the seeds more than 400 km from Kompong Speu province.

“It was easy to find the seeds for planting, and they were very cheap,” he said.

Provincial government spokesman Men Kung said he could not wait to see the trees grow tall.

“We’re planting the palm trees in a line, and they will look good when they grow bigger,” he said.


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