Slumstories: Cambodia – Living as a farmer in Cambodia

Slumstories: Cambodia – Living as a farmer in Cambodia

Hello, I’m Tov Punlok. I live in Chi Kreng commune,
Chi Kreng district, Siem Reap province. This is my father. This is my mother. This is my home and my land. This is all I can do to help my family. I can only help my children
by looking after the cows. My family have been farming since 1979
when the Pol Pot regime was overthrown. The farmers in Chi Kreng community
and all of the Chi Kreng villagers… mainly rely on farming to survive. Firstly, we need to plough
and after that we sow the seedlings. And when the seedlings have grown
we pull them. After that,
we have to plough the soil one more time. And after the ploughing, we rake the soil
and then we plant new seedlings. After we plant the seedlings
we wait for another five or six months… before we harvest the crop. This is how farmers live their life. Without rice and land a farmer will die. The way we divide our land here
depends on the size of the family. The bigger families get a bigger plot
and the smaller families a smaller plot. The farmers always help each other out
with their work. If I have to plant my seedlings today,
the other farmers will come and help me. And I will do the same for them. This land has been passed down
from generation to generation. When we get married
our parents will give us some land. But we can only grow a small amount
of rice, because it’s a small plot. In 2004, a wealthy merchant
stole 475 hectares of our land… by using his connections
with the district governor. My family and all the other families
in Chi Kreng community lost a lot of land. Move it. Let’s move.
-Go ahead and shoot them. Don’t run away.
Don’t run away. This is our land. Twelve villagers were arrested and
were accused of stealing their own rice. They were also accused
of attempted assault on the police. Those twelve people have been in prison
for the past two years. When my father was imprisoned… my family had to spend a lot of money
to try to get him out. And the families of the other detainees
also had a lot of problems. Many had to sell their remaining land… in order to pay for private lawyers
to handle their cases. But after they were paid… the lawyers never bothered to work
on the cases of the twelve detainees. They only spent that money
on their own entertainment. The villagers struggled really hard… to get the twelve innocent detainees
released. After that land dispute… a lot of the villagers from the 175 families
went to another country… because they couldn’t find work
in Cambodia to support their families. So they went to Thailand. And a large part of them
went to make a living in Malaysia. I’m not sure
what their living conditions are now. Now, people in Chi Kreng village
do many different things to make a living. Some families look for herbs. Their family is poor,
so in order to support themselves… they look for frogs
and sell them at the market. And some other people make a living
by pulling seedlings. My legs are sore. Some of you
should help smash the seedlings. Don’t forget to tie them. Other people make a living
by unloading sacks of rice. The land dispute really
affected our living standards… and it also affected our livelihoods. Without their land and their rice fields
a farmer can’t survive.

6 thoughts on “Slumstories: Cambodia – Living as a farmer in Cambodia

  1. Why don't they(Law) prosecute the guy who open fire at the unarmed people? He used powerful rifle against innocent people..?

  2. this is bull shit, some rich guy comes along and steals their land, then the bloody lawyers don't do their work when they were paid, these people don't deserve a place in society

  3. This kind of treatment of people and destruction of their livelihoods are not uncommon. It's a system being used to destroy local economies and independent people all over the world.

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