More than 500 villagers in Svay Rieng province are demanding access to local farmland following years of inactivity by a company given favourable conditions to develop it. Tiev Saron, an Ampil commune chief in Romeas Hek district, said NK Venture was awarded special conditions by the government to build a sugar plantation on the 670 hectares in 2010, but had still done nothing about it.
“Local people expected the development of the land to result in many jobs being created but the company has just kept the land for itself,” said Ms Saron. “Now the villagers need the land to farm on.”
She claimed that when local people tried to farm the unused land, the local authority went down and destroyed the work they had done.
Another villager, Chan Thon, said the failure of the company to develop the land had resulted in many people being out of work.
“We are now in farming season,” he said. “We need to plant some cassava and other crops to support our families. The government gave special concessions to that company so they could create jobs for villagers but the company has done nothing.”
The company could not be contacted for comment.