HRP is tapping into the farming constituency which makes up 80% of the population in Cambodia
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2008 20:41:27 -0700 (PDT)
From plowshares to gavels
Written by Meas Sokchea
Thursday, 19 June 2008
The Human Rights Party is reaching out to rural voters in next month's
general election with promises of greater participation in politics
though a nationwide farmers' congress.
“If the economy is to grow and benefit farmers, the farmers need to
have a voice in government policy through a strong, designated
organization,” HRP leader Kem Sokha said in an interview with the Post
earlier this month.
“If the HRP wins in the elections and we lead the government, we will
set up a national farmers’ congress,” he said. “The aim is to show
that if agriculture is progressive, economics are progressive too.”
Around 80 percent of Cambodia's population is engaged in some type of
farming, making the agriculture sector a potentially powerful
political force. The proposed farmers' congress would meet once a year
to give participants a chance to weigh in on the government's
agriculture policies, Sokha said.
“Farmers are the major force in the development of our national
economy. If we side with farmers, we will win the election and our
entire nation will also win,” he said. “This could be the surprise of
the elections of 2008, as more farmers turn to vote for the HRP.”
The president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in
Agriculture (CEDAC), Dr Yang Saing Koma, has endorsed the idea of a
farmers' congress, saying that CEDAC has been working toward a similar
goal by gathering farmers at commune, district and provincial levels
to share ideas on agricultural production.
“It is very good that a political party dares to talk like this
without fearing that it is impossible. But, if they are going to
politicize this idea, they should try to stick to it until they are
successful,” Saing Koma said.
Agriculture Ministry Secretary of State Lim Sokun dismissed the idea
as a political ploy to attract votes ahead of the July 27 election,
telling the Post on June 10 that actually establishing a congress
would be more difficult than Sokha was leading farmers to believe.
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