CCFC has organized consultative workshops in 9 communities, namely Konleng Khla, Dork Por, Tropang Krorsaing, Tropang Trea, Kok Tarea, Kampong Ampil Forest Conservation, Veay Khnors, Sang Khveang, and Kandal in Takeo, Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces for the purposes of listening to their concerns or challenges faced by local members and identifying roots causes for solutions. In the counseling, there were 352 participants (215 females) who were members, activists and community committees. Based on the talks and discussions, it was found that low rice price was one of the 8 major problems arising. Farmers raised that they had invested a lot of money into the production of rice including labors, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, harvest cost, and etc. However, the rice price was too low (price was determined by dealers). Recommendations:
- Ensuring land security for agriculture for small-scale farmers: The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) must have a clear guideline to manage and withdraw land concessions from private companies and dealers who break the agreement and other laws, and then return the land to small-scale farmers and poor communities through pushing to implement the sub-degree on social land concessions transparently, justly, with no discrimination and especially preventing from destruction of the remaining natural resources.
- Irrigation systems for farmers: RGC must restore and extend irrigation systems to store water for small and medium scale farmers’ usages in both dry and rainy seasons. Also, it has to be agreed and solved with proper compensations if the restoration and extension of the irrigation systems affect the farmers’ lands. RGC must avoid any project regarding irrigation system that serves the benefits of big investors, powerful people or big private companies.
- The provision of capital and loans to small and medium scale farmers: RGC must provide capital and make loans to small and medium scale farmers with minimum interest rate through increasing national budget allocation to agriculture sector to enable farmers to raise animals and grow crops in proper farming techniques.
- Agriculture market for farmers: RGC must ensure markets and reasonable prices for local products through strict management of importing agricultural products from foreign countries including the neighboring countries, and at the same time the government must increase social assistance fund to support farmers and create community markets in communes so that farmers can sell their products in natural process. The government must set up clear policies and strategies promoting agricultural products with a broader participation from small-scale farmers, and these must include packaging and flow of exports. The government should strengthen tax enforcement and take firm actions on dealers and companies that freeze huge plots of lands without any activity.
- Social protection for farmers: the majority of farmers in Cambodia are elders and being influenced by a culture of using of chemical substances and poisons in their agricultural products such as vegetables, goods, fish, it affects farmers’ health seriously leading to being hospitalized. Due to poverty, having no money to pay for health care services, the government must provide social security fund to small-scale farmers to have access to free health care services.