World No-Food Day: CEDAC Said that Around 100,000 Families in Cambodia Lack Sufficient Food – Saturday, 18.10.2008

Posted on 19 October 2008. Filed under: Week 582 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 582

“Phnom Penh: At present, starving people are more numerous than before – around 150 million people. This is according to a statement of the co-chair of the People’s Coalition on Food Security, Mr. Antonio Tujan, during a World Food Day celebration on 16 October 2008.

“Dr. Yang Saing Koma, the director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture – CEDAC – said during a press conference on 16 October 2008 at the organization’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, that around 100,000 families in Cambodia, corresponding to half a million people, lack food. In 2008, Cambodia faces the challenge of a food crisis because of the high price of food in the world. Mr. Yang Saing Koma added that CEDAC works with farmers from 2,000 villages countrywide and had discovered that 50%, or half of farmers who do rice farming, could not produce sufficient food during the year. Among 1.8 million farmers’ families doing rice farming, 500,000 to 600,000 families could not produce enough food. 800,00 families could afford to buy rice themselves over one month during the late rainy season.

“CEDAC found that this is because land to produce food does not increase. Although the agriculturally usable land of the whole country is six million hectares, but food can only be produced from more than three million hectares at the present time. Another factor is the lack of rain or that the rain comes late, and the irrigation system can serve only 40% of the total land. In Takeo and Kompong Chhnang, 80% of the farmers own rice fields smaller than one hectare per family.

“The executive director of the Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific [“- Empowering People for Change -”] Ms. Sarojini Rengam, said during the World Food Day on 16 October 2008 that this was a message to show the people’s strategies to solve the food crisis. This anniversary builds up public understanding about major factors that result in food crisis [chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides], and it acts to increase the people’s voice against new policies and their effects.

“A farmer, Bouen Sophal, who is the community representative of Dang Tung district of Kampot, who also attended this anniversary celebration, reported that some farmers in Kampot face difficulties to buy chemical fertilizer from Vietnam which is expensive. After the paddy rice is cultivated, the paddy rice is sold, but it is not enough just to repay the money for the chemical fertilizer. Farmers buy chemical fertilizer from different companies and merchants, and most of them borrow money from other people or are in dept, and after they sold their paddy rice, what they get is almost insufficient to repay the dept. During each cultivation reason, farmers sell tens of thousands of tonnes of paddy rice to Vietnam. When they run out of paddy rice to eat, they buy rice from Vietnam. Vietnamese rice is expensive and contains lots of chemical substances. This seriously affects their health. Nowadays, the farmers’ community at Dang Tung have organized a cooperative and have created twenty paddy rice banks to help any farmer who lacks food during the latter part of the rainy season, to rescue them from not being able to have food.

“Dr. Koma called on the government to expand more social cultivating concession land, rather than expanding economic concessions, to encourage farmers not to continue to sell their rice fields, to expand more community markets to facilitate the sale of the farmers’ products, and to increase and enlarge the farmers’ ability to produce and to keep seeds at their communities.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4719, 18.10.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 18 October 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1771, 18.10.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen Rejects the Intention to Send the Border Dispute Problem to the [24-25 October 2008] Asia-Europe Meeting [in Beijing, China]
  • In Five to Ten Years, Phnom Penh Will Have Grown [from 375] to 758 Square Kilometers [according to the Phnom Penh governor Mr. Kep Chuktema]
  • The UN Secretary General Calls on the World to Response to Starvation and Poverty


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #266, 18.10.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: I Still Hope that the Sam Rainsy Party Will Receive Positions in the National Assembly Commissions

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #120, 18.10.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Situation Turns Normal and Cambodia Continues to Be Patient to Solve the Problem Peacefully, Not Needing an Intervention from Other Countries
  • The Cambodian Government [through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Reacts against the Bangkok Post of Siam [Thailand] Which Made a Publication with No Basis in Reality [Cambodia Is accused of setting new mines]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Continues to Detain Ieng Sary [a former Khmer Rouge leader] until the Day of His Trial

Note:

Actually, the Cambodian chargé d’affaires at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok was given a document – an aide mémoire – with the request to respond after the Cambodian government would have compared notes – it is no an accusation against the Cambodian authorities, but a request “to investigate whether any individual has violated legislation banning the use of anti-personnel landmines” – describing also in detail some of the background for this request being presented in this way.

The following is quoted from the Bangkok Post:

“The Thai government viewed this incident [in which two Thai soldiers stepped on mines and lost limbs] with great alarm, as it indicated a violation of the 1997 Ottawa Convention to Ban Anti-Personnel Landmines as well as a threat to international peace,” said the deputy director-general of the Information Department, Thani Tongpakdi.

“The Thai Mines Action Centre and other non-governmental organisations found the PMN2-type mines at Phu Ma Khua…

“The mines that were retrieved by the team also appear to be newly-planted as no rust was found on them,” said Mr Thani.

“The government wants Cambodian authorities to investigate whether any individual has violated legislation banning the use of anti-personnel landmines.”

“The Phnom Penh government submitted a report to the United Nations secretary-general in 2002 noting that 240 PMN2-type landmines from a total of 3,405 were transferred from its Interior Ministry to the Cambodian Mine Action Center for development and training.

“Thailand would like the Cambodian government to verify where the remaining mines are.”


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6476, 18-19.10.2008

  • Statement of the Ministry of Foreign of Cambodia: Unilateral Mine Clearing [by Thailand at Veal Intry] Is a Violation
  • The Budget for the Military Will Be Increased during This Fourth Term, the National Assembly Plans to Permit Samdech Hun Sen to Use Expenditures for the Military
  • Fuel Prices in New York – US$69.85 – and in London – US$66.32 – Drop to Almost the Price Level before the Increases
  • A Fax from Samdech Euv [the Father King] to the Minister of the Royal Palace Samdech Kong Som Ol [to grant US$1,000 to the wives or families of the compatriots who died because of the confrontation with Thailand, or who die from accidents at the Preah Vihear Temple, the Ta Moan Temple, and the Ta Krabei Temple; for those who are injured, US$500 will be provided]
  • Old Mother [78] and [57] Daughter Were Robbed and Killed Cruelly [with a cleaver and an ax – the robbers are not yet identified – Koh Soutin, Kompong Cham]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3591, 18.10.2008

  • Khieu Kanharith Criticizes a Siamese Parliamentarian [Sukhumbhand Paripatra – สุขุมพันธุ์ บริพัตร – Member of Parliament with the Democrat Party; former Deputy Foreign Minister] Who Made the Accusation that There Might Be Forces of a Third Country Coming to Cambodia
  • International Community Expresses Concern over the Khmer-Siamese Border Dispute that Could Lead to Serious Armed Conflict [China, Malaysia, Singapore, the European Union, and the United States of America request Cambodian and Thailand to solve the dispute peacefully]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4719, 18.10.2008

  • World No-Food Day: CEDAC Said that Around 100,000 Families in Cambodia Lack Sufficient Food
  • Thai Army Commander-in-Chief [Anupong Paochinda] Tells the Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat] to Resign


Have a look at the last editorial: If the alternative is peace or war, the option can only be peace.

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Tuesday, 15.7.2008: Teachers’ Livelihood in Cambodia

Posted on 16 July 2008. Filed under: Week 569 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 5689

“Mr. Thong Boran, director of the Department of Personnel of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, said that since 2002, the government has said to create a new salary system for civil servants, by stating that the salary of civil servants must be increased 15% every year. In 2007, all civil servants received 15% more, and in July of the same year an additional 8% was added. In 2008, the government increased the salary of civil servants again – all of them get a 20% increase to their salaries. Separately, since 1 April 2008, the government has increased the salaries for teachers and for school administrators by an additional 10%, and the family allowance for wives and children of those teachers and civil servants was raised 100%.

“The government considers the Ministry of Education as a priority ministry among four ministries – the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries; the Ministry of Rural Development; and the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport has taken teachers from some areas which have an over-supply of teachers to re-assign them to work in areas where there are not enough teachers, by giving them one-time financial encouragements. If they were re-assigned from one village to another, they get Riel 300,000 [approx. US$75]; for a change from one commune to another, they get Riel 500,000 [approx. US$125]; for a change from one district to another, they get Riel 800,000 [approx. US$200]; for a change from one low level land province to another, they get Riel 1,000,000 [approx. US$250]; and if they are re-assigned from one province to another remote province, they get Riel 1,500,000 [approx. US$375]. The Ministry has added another Riel 40,000 [approx. US$10] to the total salary of teachers in difficult areas (areas with difficulties with communication, with a low population density of less than 10 persons per square kilometer, frequently flooded areas, or areas which often suffer from natural calamities, and border regions).

“Teachers who teach in towns of remote provinces such as Ratanakiri, Mondolkiri, Stung Treng, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Koh Kong, and Pailin received an additional Riel 50,000 [approx. US$12.50 per month, and in other remote areas besides those towns, Riel 60,000 [approx. US$15] was added monthly.

“Moreover, each teacher gets a monthly health care allowance of Riel 1,500 [approx. US$0.38]. For teachers who do their work well and are ranked first, they will get Riel 120,000 [approx. US$30], those who rank second will get Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] and those who rank third will get Riel 80,000 [approx. US$20]. The Ministry also sponsors teachers who teach on Thursdays [primary schools in Cambodia do not have classes on Thursday] giving them Riel 20,000 [approx. US$5] when they teach on a Thursday. For primary school teachers who teach mixed classes – teachers that teach students from different grades in the same room and in the same session – if two levels are combined they get 60% of their salary added, and if three levels are combined, they get 80% of their salary added. Teachers who teach two turns [normally each teacher teaches only morning classes or afternoon classes, but some teachers teach two turns, teaching both morning and evening classes], they will receive an additional 100% of their base salary. In total, nowadays each teacher gets a salary between Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] and Riel 560,000 [approx. US$140] per month.

“However, although the government has continually increased the salaries for teachers, the increase is not balanced with the dramatic increase of the price of goods in the markets.

“The prices of fuel and of food have increased everywhere in Cambodia as well as in some other countries of the world. These increases have strongly affected civil servants, especially those who live with salaries like teachers have them.

“A male teacher said that his salary can buy only 50 kg of rice. So he has to do also something else to support his family to have enough income each month. Therefore he does not have time to prepare his teaching or to do research to develop good lessons for his students.

“A female teacher asked the Ministry to provide the salary on time – even as the salary is small; but the payment should not being too late, extending the pay day from one month to another month or to another one-month-and-a-half, because teachers face difficulties since they do not have an income besides their salary.

“A male teacher, who has worked as a teacher for nearly 30 years, said that his salary could be spent for him alone for breakfast, but he must spend it carefully so that it can be enough for one whole month; and if he buys cigarettes or other food, this salary is not enough. Although he has a difficult life, he still teaches, because his conscious makes him feel responsible to teach students.

“A male teacher would like the government to help to take action so that the prices of good could decrease – it would not be necessary to increase the salaries, if the prices of goods could be decreased.

“A female teacher, who has worked as a teacher for five years, said that she lives alone, renting a house for Riel 40,000 per month [approx. US$10], and she gets a salary of only Riel 160,000 [approx. US$40] per month; it is difficult to cover expenses when she is sometimes ill.

“A male teacher said that his house is more than 20 km away from his school, and his motorbike consumes one liter of fuel per day for traveling to teach the students. Because now the price of fuel increased, his salary is not even enough to buy fuel. He uses his time in the afternoon to seek more income by teaching English at a private school, making it impossible for him to have time to think about new good methods to teach his students to be better qualified.

“A male teacher, who has been relocated from Prey Veng to teach at a school at a Phnom Penh suburb, said that he has to rent a house for Riel 80,000 Riel [approx. US$20] per month, and the price of water and of electricity in Phnom Penh is also expensive. His salary, even with the allowance of 10% from the Ministry, is spent in only half of a month on meals. He said that he really does not want to take money from the students, because most of his school’s students are poor like himself, but to have enough for his livelihood, he has to take money from the students. He asks the government to intervene to decrease the price of goods, so that his salary can match with the expenses for a longer period of days.” Extracted from Tumpeang Snong Russey Magazine by Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6393, 15.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1693, 15.7.2008

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Samak Commits Himself to Change the Constitution in Order to Increase Political Stability [saying he intends to have the constitution changed, especially the second paragraph of Article 237, which says that a party can be dissolved if its leaders are found guilty of electoral fraud, which is like a “deadly poison for politicians”]


Karpear Cheat, Vol.1, #6, 15.7.2008

  • Young Generation of Businesspeople Are Highly Interested in Information Technology
  • Cooperation with Lutheran World Federation Cambodia Program Improves Livelihood of the Poor by Strengthening Community at Villages for Development
  • Members of the Military and of the Police with Four Golden Stripes on their Epaulets Increase to Eighteen, and some Ministers Also Hold Four Gold Stripes [Military leadership: 1. General Tea Banh, 2. General Ke Kim Yan, 3. General Pol Saroeun, 4. General Meas Sophea, 5. General Nhek Bun Chhay, 6. General Chay Saing Yun, 7. General Tea Chamrath, 8. General Om Yon, 9. General Moeng Samphan, 10. General Kun Kim, 11. General Neang Phat, and 12. General Nhim Vanda; Police leadership: 13. General Hok Lundy, 14. General Em Sam An, 15. General Khat Savoeun, 16. General Dul Koeun, 17. General Kieng Vang, and 18. General Sin Pensen]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #607, 15.7.2008

  • [Siem Reap Governor] Su Phirin Is Disrespectful to Say that the Preah Vihear Temple, before It Was Listed as a World Heritages Site, Was in a Contested Area


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #49, 15.7.2008

  • Cambodian National Research Organization [CNRO] Accused [Supreme Patriarch] Samdech Tep Vong of Connecting Buddhism with Politics [by allowing monks in Cambodia to vote for political parties]
  • Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC] Asked the Ministry of Agriculture to Find Methods to Control the Momeach Tnot [Brown Plant-Hopper? – please let us know if you know. – Editor]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6393, 15.7.2008

  • Teachers’ Livelihood in Cambodia
  • FBI Announced to be Prepared to Help Hunt for Murderers [of Mr. Khim Sambo, journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer, and of his son]; Twelve Cambodian Journalists Have Been Murdered So Far
  • Expert Committee in Cambodia Releases Information about Number of Rapes, Human Trafficking, and Sexually Motivated Vices During Two Trimesters


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3512, 15.7.2008

  • More than 2,000 Workers of the W&D Factory Held a Strike Claiming the Factory’s Boss Does Not Care for Good Working Conditions
  • Four Khmer Citizens Got Poisoned in Pursat from Yuon [Vietnamese] Packed Noodles of the ‘Chicken Leg’ Brand


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4641, 16.7.2008

    Thai Military Leader [Supreme Commander Boonsang Niampradit] Insisted that the Government Should Revoke its Supporting Statement for Cambodia [obtained without parliamentary decision and therefore violating the Thai constitution]
    Thailand Has Other Issues besides Preah Vihear: the Economy Declines [because of inflation and decreasing investment]
    American Military Suffers Big Tragic Loss in Afghanistan [nine soldiers died during an attack by insurgents near the Pakistan border]

Have a look at the last editorial – The struggle towards openness and access to information happens in many places – and it may help to mutually learn from other experiences.

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Wednesday, 9.7.2008: CEDAC Expresses Optimism about the Sustainability of Farming

Posted on 9 July 2008. Filed under: Week 568 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC] has finished a project to help improve the living standards of the poor in five southern provinces of Cambodia in June 2008. This project was funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction [JFPR] though the Asian Development Bank for a period of five years, and US$1.3 million were spent.

“However, what CEDAC has to think about is, after the project has finished, to choose actions that can guarantee the continuity of what has been built up. In a discussion held late June, the governor of Batheay District, Kompong Cham, raised previous experiences that there used to be many organizations assisting this district, but when their project fund came to an end, there was no continuity at all. Villagers are afraid that CEDAC might repeat the same situation when it runs out of funds. But local authorities that observe CEDAC evaluate that the project implementation of CEDAC has achieved many good results. The improvement of the living standard of the poor at the targeted community led, to some extent, to a reduction of poverty.

“Eight outstanding representative farmers from Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chhnang, and Takeo asserted that their families and the members of their communities are richer, because they have attended different training courses about practices of techniques by CEDAC. There they learned how the community can save money, how to breed animals and fish, or to conserve trees, to grow crops, to do rice farming based on natural methods etc., all of which is closely related to marketability of the products.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn, a local coordinator, said that the participation by local authority representatives from villages, communes, and districts cooperating with farmers’ communities is an important factor that brings poverty alleviation at those target places. Wherever there is participation by local authorities, those places will develop more quickly.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn showed figures that among 192 villages from five provinces, 14,300 families benefited from the project. the number of farmers who cooperated is 7,300, the living standard of 500 families changed greatly; 5,900 families experienced an average change, and 800 families got poorer. The number of women who have changed their attitudes and abandoned their old habits is 3,500, and the number of youth under the same category is 900. And 1,500 of the poorest families who sold their labor to have some income have changed their living standard and have become independent farmers; the livelihood of farmers in general is better. Generally, they can earn 80% more from the increase of the agricultural production and from the reduction of other expenses. They have stepped up the basis for this to retain the continuity of their production teams, and 718 teams have saved money – they have 6,000 families as members so that they are able to link their products to markets. Each family earns from Riel 1.4 million to Riel 2.6 million [approx. US$340 to US$635 per farming season] from their agricultural products; those are 427 families in Kompong Chhnang, Svay Rieng, and Kompong Cham. Their income is from paddy rice, from the breeding of chickens and pigs, and from the planting of vegetables and other crops.

“Dr. Yang Saing Komar [dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development, International University, Phnom Penh] pointed to key measures contributing to the sustainability when there are no more external funds. What can replace funds for farmers’ communities to guarantee the continuity of their activities are human resources who have been trained with all skills since five years, always with a link to market mechanisms. All agricultural products created by the community must be taken to markets by the farmers, and they have to sell their own products. Money saved in the community is capital to replace the external funding and can guarantee the sustainability of their community. Production and the link to markets are key methods to develop the rural economy to become active. Trained persons, 995 human resources of the community, will be the main and strong activists who can continue to develop the community without depending on external funds.

“Mr. Komar added that for economic activities money is needed, ‘and we have money which was saved in our community.’ By 2011, this organization has the ambition to increase the money-saving community up to 4,000 villages countrywide, without borrowing loans or depending on foreign donor countries.

“This fund will become a basic experience which can lead to a successfully functioning market that carries great responsibility for the society, especially for the living standard of farmers, and for food security for customers, which can guarantee sustainable development at the basis.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4636, 9.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1688, 9.7.2008

  • The Thai Constitutional Court Ruled that a Joint Communique Signed between Cambodia and Thailand Violates the Thai Constitution [as the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs acted without parliamentary endorsement]
  • The Ministry of Health Distributed More than 80 Tonnes of Abate [chemical substance that is put into stagnant water to kill mosquito eggs and larvae] to Prevent Dengue Fever
    Thousands of Thai Demonstrators Shouted at the Police to Take Action in [deposed former prime minister] Thaksin’s Case Soon [corruption and misuse of power]
  • South Korean Police Warn They Will Use Hot Actions to Suppress Demonstrators against US Beef Imports
  • Thai Rebels [in a Muslim southern Thai province] Attacked a Car Carrying Students; Two [Thai] Soldiers Were Killed and Three Students Were Injured [7 July 2008]
  • [Helicopter of] America Attacked a Wedding Ceremony in Afghanistan [killing at least 22 people]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #602, 9.7.2008

  • Cambodian People’s Party Does Not Dare to Create Ministry of Immigration [related to illegal Vietnamese]
  • Ou Chrov District Police Chief [Mr. Ing Song You] Runs a Big Casino in Balat Guesthouse [Poipet]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #44, 9.7.2008

  • The Preah Vihear Temple Was Listed as a World Heritage Site [8 July 2008]
  • [Traffic] Accidents Increase because of [traffic] Law Violations


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4636, 9.7.2008

  • CEDAC Expresses Optimism about the Sustainability of Farming
  • Situation at the [Preah Vihear Temple] Border Crossing Was Quiet while Cambodia Was Beating Drums and Firing Fireworks to Express Satisfaction about the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Social Network against Child Labor Was Inaugurated in Siem Reap
  • European Commission Plans to spend 1,000 Million Euro against Food Crisis


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3354, 9.7.2008

  • Cambodian People’s Party Did Not Participate in Political Parties’ Forum about Anti-Corruption Law [8 July 2008]

Have a look at the last editorial – Without freedom of information AND an active use of this freedom, emotions can easily lead to dangerous misunderstandings.

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