The intractable problem of land grabbing in Cambodia

Located in the middle of a plain, the sugar processing plant rusts under the light rain at the end of a monsoon. “The lorries used to come and go non-stop. But since 2019 everything has come to a standstill,” says Tip Teum, a 68-year-old farmer from the Kuy ethnic group. A quick glance at the weeds growing around the disused petrol station at the end of a dirt road confirms her story: no vehicle has stopped here to fill up in a long time. “Since nothing here works anymore, we can once again cultivate the land in this area. But nothing will ever be the same as it was before,” she laments.

The 42,000 hectare economic concession was granted in 2011 for a period of 70 years to five Chinese companies, all belonging to the same conglomerate, the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry. The stated aim of the concession was ambitious: to grow and process some two million tonnes of sugar cane a year. Twelve years later, the local residents who were evicted from their land are all the more bitter now that the unprofitable and poorly financed agricultural project has collapsed.

In full:

Related Stories

Latest News