Tycoon Agrees to Buy Protesting Farmers’ Crops

After blocking a national road for eight hours on Thursday in protest over falling corn prices, farmers in Battambang province were promised on Friday that a tycoon will buy their crops, but at a price some found too low.

Deputy provincial governor Nguon Ratanak said representatives for tycoon Phou Puy, who holds the royally bestowed title “oknha,” agreed to purchase their crops for 3.4 Thai baht (around $0.10), during a six-hour meeting between officials and representatives for the farmers.

The growers had barricaded National Road 57B in Kamrieng district on Thursday, saying they hoped to catch the attention of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who might then put pressure on traders to raise the amount they were offering for corn.

“We agreed together that oknha Phou Puy will buy…from farmers to make it dry and the representatives for the farmers agreed to wait another 10 days to harvest new corn to sell to Thailand,” Mr. Ratanak said.

Mr. Puy is an agricultural entrepreneur and co-founder and chairman of Intean Polroth Rongroeurng who started a rice milling business in Banteay Meanchey province in 1990, according to Bloomberg.

Chheang Khan, a farmer who protested on Thursday, said the price Mr. Puy was offering was still low and asked that he pick the corn up from his farm.

“My idea is that oknha Phou Puy should come to transport corn because we sold at a cheap price and my farm is about 100 kilometers away from the city,” he said.


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