Lifespan of ELCs slashed by gov’t

July 29th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

The government has declared leases on plantations will be limited to 50 years, slashing the length of some existing concessions in half, though neither ministry responsible for overseeing the move would confirm the legal basis for doing so.

The decision was announced in a press release issued by the Ministry of Environment yesterday, with its chief of cabinet, Srun Darith, saying the policy would be implemented on new and already- existing economic land concessions (ELCs). …

Taing Vida
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/lifespan-elcs-slashed-govt

In search of export market for mangoes

July 9th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia is seeking to export its mangoes to South Korea, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Contacted yesterday, deputy MAFF director Hean Vanhorn said that a ministry representative would meet with a South Korean agriculture delegation today to discuss the possibility of exporting mangoes there. …

Sok Chan
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/search-export-market-mangoes

El Niño raises drought fears

June 16th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia is looking at a delayed onset of the rainy season, with experts and government officials having raised concerns of a prolonged dry season affecting agricultural production, as the Pacific weather pattern El Niño threatens to bring drought-like conditions.

Ngin Chhay, director of the Rice Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that farmers across the country were concerned about the lack of water and the delay in planting crops this season, which traditionally runs from May to November. …

Chan Muyhong
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/el-nino-raises-drought-fears

Program aims to boost rice resilience to climate change

June 9th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

As climate change increases the severity of droughts and floods across the Kingdom, a push is being made for farmers to adopt more resistant rice varieties.

The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute launched a USAID-financed project in Phnom Penh yesterday in a bid to “accelerate the adoption of stress-tolerant rice varieties by smallholder farmers”.

The project will last three years and be implemented in both Cambodia and Nepal, with each country allocated $3 million. …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Charles Rollet
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/program-aims-boost-rice-resilience-climate-change

Cassava-run biomass plant closer to fruition

June 3rd, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

A planned biomass plant run on cassava in Battambang province looks ever more likely after a trial period with 100 farmers was successfully completed.

Idemitsu Oil & Gas signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) in 2012 to explore the development of biofuels in Cambodia. …

Chan Muyhong
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/cassava-run-biomass-plant-closer-fruition

PM calls for a halt to collusion

May 5th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Prime Minister Hun Sen urged provincial governors yesterday to stop government officials from colluding with traders to fix agricultural commodity prices, giving farmers no choice but to sell their products at below-market rates.

The PM’s call comes a day after the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries released an announcement stating that an investigation would be launched into the possible scheme. …

Chan Muyhong
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/pm-calls-halt-collusion

Productivity rests on rainfall

April 28th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Banking on more favourable weather conditions this year, the Ministry of Agriculture is predicting a 3 per cent increase in rice production for the 2015-2016 season, after a prolonged drought period saw a downturn in last season’s harvest.

Rice productivity last year fell to 3.07 tonnes per hectare, down 2.67 per cent, from an average of 3.1 tonnes per hectare in 2013. The total harvest last season was 9.32 million tonnes of paddy, down 0.7 per cent from the 9.38 million tonnes in 2013, according to annual report from the ministry. …

Chan Muyhong
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/productivity-rests-rainfall

ELC earnings underwhelm

April 21st, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Cambodian government earned about $80 million leasing economic land concessions and forests to private companies over the last three years, according to a report from the Ministry of Economy and Finance released last week.

The January report, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, found that the ELC system, which is managed by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, and Fisheries (MAFF), faced significant challenges such as low revenues collected from rental fees and a lack of proper implementation from both ministries. …

May Kunmakara
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/elc-earnings-underwhelm

Timber by the numbers

April 7th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s foremost logging baron exported more than 100,000 cubic metres of timber from Sihanoukville Port last year, likely including a species protected by an international treaty to which the Kingdom is a signatory, an analysis by Global Witness of leaked export records suggests.

The data, obtained by the Post from a source in the transportation industry, show the Try Pheap Group exported an estimated 107,832 cubic metres of timber via the port, an amount the London-based NGO said could be worth between $55 million and $123 million, based on documents it obtained as part of an investigation last year. …

Documents obtained at the port during the group’s 8-month investigation included export licences for $5.6 million worth of timber headed for the Hong Kong-based Kin Chung Transportation, which is listed as having a capital shareholding of only HK$2 ($0.25) and an address registered to a residential building in the administrative region. …

Daniel Pye
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/timber-numbers

NGO: Data shows ‘wholesale sell-off’

March 31st, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia should urgently disclose all information about land ownership and rethink its “wholesale sell-off” of the country’s natural resources, a local rights group said yesterday.

The call to release information about Cambodia’s land sector, including a declaration of revenues, came as Licadho released an analysis of concessions showing that three-fifths of all of Cambodia’s arable land is under the control of mostly foreign-owned plantation firms.

The data, which exclude land allocated for mining exploration, shows that 2.14 million hectares have been leased to private firms since the government announced its forest “conversion” policy in the early 2000s and began to issue economic land concessions (ELCs). …

Daniel Pye and Pech Sotheary
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/ngo-data-shows-wholesale-sell