May 3rd, 2013, Channel News Asia, Agriculture & Agri-business, Agro-Industry, Economics, Energy, Environment & Natural Resources, Farming, Fishing, Forests, Hydroelectricity, Lakes/Rivers, Land Tenure, News Source, Protected Areas, Timber/Wood
BANGKOK: Demand for farmland may strip the Greater Mekong region of a third of its remaining forest cover over the next two decades without swift government action, a leading conservation group warned Thursday.
Forests are being cleared for commodities such as rubber and rice while illegal logging is decimating many protected zones, WWF said in a report, adding a contentious dam on Mekong river will deepen already severe ecosystem damage.
“The Greater Mekong is at a crossroads,” said Peter Cutter of the WFF, adding Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar lost between 22-24 percent of their forests from 1973 — the first point of available data — to 2009, while 43 percent of woodland was stripped from Thailand and Vietnam. …
The US$3.8 billion hydroelectric project, which is due to be completed in around five years, has sharply divided the four Mekong nations — Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. …
As night falls thousands of weary workers stream from textile factories that fan out across Phnom Penh’s outskirts.
The clothing industry’s desire for cheap labour having created an abundance of jobs but as the number of international clothes companies tapping into Cambodia’s workforce grows, so does anger at the low wages and tough conditions that come with such employment in the global garment industry. …
Overwork, malnutrition and poor ventilation are to blame for staff fainting in factories since 2010, according to Moeun Tola, program manager at the Community Legal Education Centre, which provides advocacy for workers. …
PHNOM PENH: There are about a hundred Singapore-owned businesses in Cambodia, mainly located in the capital, Phnom Penh.
Many, who set up shop there, feel the numbers have stayed low because there is a perception that the country is not safe. …
In 2011, Singapore invested close to US$200 million in Cambodia, making it the 9th largest source of foreign direct investment. In the same year, Singapore was also ranked Cambodia’s sixth largest trading partner.
Private residential property in Cambodia is being seen by some investors as relatively cheap, with potential for attractive returns.
Industry players believe these factors are the main draw for foreign buyers, looking to grow their money in Cambodia.
Keuk Narin, vice president of Asia Real Estate Cambodia said: “If you compare with other countries, like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, I think it’s very challenging to invest in property.
“If we invest in property, like US$20,000, to buy property in Thailand, it might not be in the city centre but if you invest in Phnom Penh, it will be in the city centre and as for the value, it will be different. The capital growth is still high. And also in the city centre, in Phnom Penh especially, for the properties like condominiums, they are very good for renting. Even those like the investment, in terms of the investment it’s still very limited, five to six per cent, but there’s still room for growth.”
Market watchers say returns on property investment could reach up to 8 per cent this year, up from just 3 per cent five years ago. …
Economic ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries are meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia on Monday to discuss the progress in regional economic integration initiatives.
They will also focus on working towards establishing an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015..
Channel News Asia Staff
An EU scheme to boost trade with developing nations is fuelling land grabs in Cambodia, activists say, with thousands evicted from their property to make way for a booming sugar industry.
Campaigners are taking their fight to European supermarkets, encouraging a boycott of Cambodian sugar, which they claim is often grown on land snatched illegally from rural farmers.
Yi Chhav said she had no choice but to return to her family plantation to work for the sugarcane grower that took her land, toiling for about US$1.50 a day in the sea of swaying emerald green plants that swallowed her rice paddies.
“If we say there’s no way we’ll go to work in the sugarcane plantation then what will we have to eat? There’s no work,” the 68-year-old widow told AFP at her modest home in southwestern Koh Kong province. ”…
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she will take part in next month’s meeting of Southeast Asian nations and regional powers in Cambodia. Clinton met in Washington with Cambodia’s foreign minister, Hor Namhong, as the developing nation prepares to host this year’s meetings of…ASEAN. …
Garment-making has been a mainstay of Cambodia’s fledgling economy, chalking up between 6 and 7 percent annually for the past four years.
But, the country is turning its focus back to the land in the hope that rice growing and other farming produce, will lift growth closer to 8 percent, making it among the world’s fastest growing economies.
A contrast to and the yearly average GDP growth rate of 7.7 percent over the last ten years, according to the IMF. Cambodia’s central bank expects economic growth in 2012 to accelerate to its fastest pace in four years.
“One of the priority sector of the government is to develop the agriculture” said Nguon Sokha, Director General, National Bank of Cambodia.