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Civil society: draft legislation on agricultural land law undermines smallholder farmers.
Potential new legislation in Cambodia could undermine smallholder farms, and force farmers to grow only certain types of crops, according to civil society representatives.
They were speaking at a meeting in Cambodia last month with senior officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, led by the NGO Forum on Cambodia, where they had the opportunity to voice their concerns about the draft legislation.
The draft, which has been in progress since 2011, would impose arduous rules and penalties on smallholder farmers, such as punishing those who did not grow crops advised by the ministry.
The civil society representatives called for the ministry to change the draft’s basic approach from one of imposing rules and penalties to one of providing assistance, advice and incentives for farmers.
On a positive note, ministry officials present at the meeting confirmed that they would take these suggested amendments into consideration in further consultation with the ministry of justice, especially with regard to penalties on farmers.
The Mekong Region Land Governance project, in cooperation with other partners, DCA, Oxfam, Caritas, HEKS, STAR Kampuchea, ActionAid, and OHCHR, provided support to NGO Forum on Cambodia for this dialogue with MAFF senior officials.