Chinese Sugar Company Leases Parts of Cambodian Land Concession to Farmers

A Chinese sugar company with a big long-lasting land concession in Cambodia came under attack from NGOs Tuesday for renting parts of the concession to neighborhood citizens, accumulating lease rather of taking part in the tasks specified in its agreement with the Cambodian federal government.

The Hengfu Group Sugar Industry, the mom company of 5 neighborhood subsidiaries in Cambodia, was granted a 70- year concession in 2011 spanning 400,000 hectares (1,544 square miles) in Preah Vihear district in return for encouraging to spend UNITED STATE $1 billion.

The Cambodian federal government held an opening event for a manufacturing facility on the concession in 2016, where Prime Minister Hun Sen kept in mind that the business spent $360 million for phase one of the growth plan.

But by billing lease to citizens that live there rather of making use of the land for sugar manufacturing, the company remains in violation of agreement, NGOs claim.

The Chinese business need to return the land concession back to the federal government, and also the federal government needs to return the land to the citizens, many of whom are from native minorities, Lor Chan, the Preah Vihear rural planner for The Cambodian Human Rights and also Development Association informed RFA’s Khmer Service.

“Many Cambodian villagers are leasing land from the Chinese companies,” he claimed.

Lor Chan included that adhering to the concession, the neighborhood citizens submitted problems versus the business that are still pending.

“It is illegal. They breached their land concession contracts with the government. The companies have no legal ground to lease land to villagers,” he claimed.

The concession influenced thousands of citizens from 25 towns in 3 areas in the district, according to Phek Sophoan, of the Ponlok Khmer Organization, which promotes for the civils rights of native individuals staying in the district’s highlands.

Phek Sophoan informed RFA that outdoors citizens and also federal government authorities are additionally renting the land as go-getters, capitalizing of the circumstance to encroach on land that need to belong to the highlanders.

“The companies were awarded the land concession for sugar plantations. So when they are out of business, they must return the land back to the government so the people who used to cultivate it can do so again,” he claimed.

The business put on hold procedures due to inner troubles, yet guaranteed to return to in 2020, according Preah Vihear Provincial Agriculture Department Director Peung Tryda The supervisor specified this a long time after they put on hold procedures. RFA tried to get in touch with him Tuesday, yet he might not be gotten to.

RFA got to Preah Vihear Provincial Governor Prak Sovann, yet he declined to remark regarding the circumstance.

Farmers separated

Local farmer Yeay Sok, informed RFA that she rented 20 hectares (50 acres) of land at 200,000 riels ($4870) per hectare each year from the business to grow rice. She claimed she shared initial and also will certainly pay the remainder after harvest.

Yeay Sok, that has actually currently grown on 5 hectares, claimed she assumes the expense of renting the land is reasonable to the farmers.

“Many Cambodians are leasing land from the Chinese,” she claimed, including that individuals from Kampong Cham and also Prey Veng districts have actually come to lease parts of the concession with yearly agreements.

“If they let us, we will continue to lease the land next year,” she claimed.

Yeay Sok claimed she had no concept why the business quit growing their sugar ranches, including that there are currently neighborhood livestock grazing where the sugar walking stick was as soon as grown.

But a native Kui citizen that declined to be called since of protection worries informed RFA that he shed a 6 hectare public hacienda to the business in 2012 and also thinks they should not be permitted to lease the land currently.

“It was my land. They took it since they claimed the federal government provided[the rights] But currently why quit [planting sugar] so they are renting the land to individuals and also I do not believe that’s reasonable,” the citizen claimed.

He said that the business require to return the land, which has actually remained in his household for generations, since they are out of company.

“So Cambodians are no longer in charge of the land, and Chinese own it. It’s very strange,” he claimed.

RFA gotten in touch with Lan Feng Cambodia, one of the subsidiaries, yet company depictive Y Heng decreased to remark.

Economic land giving ins (ELCs) have actually gone to the heart of land disagreements in between the federal government and also its people as citizens are frequently required off their land to ensure that it can be made use of.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s federal government has actually provided giving ins to greater than 2.1 million hectares of Cambodian land to capitalists, consisting of significant Chinese and also Vietnamese business and also neighborhood companies with connections to the governing Cambodian People’s Party (C.P.P.), according to a 2015 record by the civils rights team LICADHO.

Reported by RFA’s KhmerService Translated by SameanYun Written in English by Eugene Whong.

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