Malaysian interest up in Cambodia’s land concessions

Lion Forest Industries Berhad will seek to acquire a 9,995 hectare concession in Cambodia, the latest in a number of Malaysian firms eyeing the Kingdom to increase land banks this year.

The firm aims to cultivate rubber and palm oil on the proposed concession in Preah Vihear province, with a total investment of 11.77 million ringgit (US$3.9 million), according to a filing on the Bursa Malaysia late on Wednesday.

Lion Forest halted its operations in Malaysia and China and is seeking to tap into a new core business and diversify its earnings stream, the statement said.
“For investors looking to grow and process crops, Cambodia is an ideal location as it has plenty of land available for agricultural concessions,” it said. Read more of this post

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Vietnam Rubber Group helps Cambodian workers

The Vietnam Rubber Group’s (VRG) investment projects in Cambodia have helped improve living condition for local people, said Nguon Nhel, First Vice-President of the Cambodian National Assembly (NA). Read more of this post

Despite some efforts, forests continue to decrease

Cambodia’s woodlands are seeing continued deforestation, despite a plan by the government to curb illegal logging, environmental groups say.

Authorities say they have a plan to protect the forest, but non-governmental groups say the problem persists, including through an increase in land concessions, and massive illegal logging by the military.

Cambodia has an official strategy to protect the forests over the next 18 years, including land management practices and tighter governmental controls over still exiting forests. Experts say as little as 30 percent of the country’s forest cover remains, while logging continues to be a problem. Read more of this post

Cambodian banks aim to ride agriculture boom

Cambodian banks are hoping that a surge in agricultural investment will bring in the customers they need to take out loans and put to work the cash flooding into the frontier market’s overcrowded banking system.

Cambodia, which is due to open a stock exchange this year, is attracting investment to rural areas as it seeks to move from exporting primary crops to milling rice and packaging seafood to sell abroad.

Foreign donors have vastly expanded rural road networks and firms from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and beyond are scrambling to buy land and expand rubber and rice plantations. But while the streets of Phnom Penh are cluttered with bank branches and cash machines, banks have ignored rural areas. Read more of this post

Price and export of corn rising

International demand for animal feed is pushing corn prices higher, fuelling the growth of the industry in western Cambodia.

Corn prices have increased by some 25 percent year on year, leading to an increase in land being planted, Battambang province farmers said. Read more of this post

Fallout from deforestation

In a 2010 report to the international Convention on Biological Diversity, Cambodia’s Ministry of the Environment presented a portrait of national biodiversity to make any taxonomist drool: 123 mammal species, 88 reptile species, 545 bird species, and more than 2,000 species of vascular plants. Further study has the potential to significantly increase these numbers.  

But as the impressive extent of Cambodian biodiversity slowly comes to light, it is also coming under increasing threat.   

Over the past decade, land concessions and luxury timber harvesting have reduced primary forest cover by 13,000 hectares, or 3.42 percent each year in Cambodia, according to a report released early this month by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Tropical Timber Organisation.  Read more of this post

Bangladesh, Cambodia to tie up for agri sector cooperation

Bangladesh is set to tie up with Cambodia for promoting investment and development co-operation in agricultural sector aiming to raise food grain production through taking some of the latter’s land on lease, officials said. 

The Prime Minister of the South-East Asian nation Hun Sen is scheduled to visit Dhaka soon when the two countries are expected to sign a number of deals on bilateral cooperation, mainly on farming, the official added.

“The major cooperation will be in the agricultural sector as food shortage-stricken Bangladesh seeks to take land on lease from Cambodia to produce rice there and bring the same back to meet local demand,” a senior commerce ministry official told the FE. Read more of this post

Opposition asks Hun Sen to protect Prey Lang forest

The Sam Rainsy Party has sent a request to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting that he cancel economic land concessions in Prey Lang forest, in the east of the country, where thousands are villagers say their livelihoods are under threat.

Nine SRP parliamentarians singled out more than 6,000 hectares in a concession to a Vietnamese company, CRCK, among others, and suggested the forest be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Hun Sen approved a 70-year lease to CRCK in September 2009, clearing the way for a contract between the company and Ministry of Agriculture for the clearance of forest for a rubber plantation. Read more of this post

Cambodia to facilitate Vietnam’s rubber planting (English/French)

The Cambodian Government will create the best favourable condition for the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) to plant rubber trees in Cambodia, affirmed Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhayly. Read more of this post

Land concession inside a protected forest granted to company

An economic land concession spanning 1,400 hectares has been granted inside Kampong Speu’s protected Phnom Oral forest to an unspecified company by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A sub-decree signed by the premier on May 24 and received by The Post on Tuesday reclassifies the land, which lies within the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Oral district’s Trapaing Chor commune and Thpong district’s Omlaing commune, for agro-industrial development. Read more of this post