A new project titled “Agri-Tourism, Banteay Srei, a beautiful land” is focussing on bringing national and international tourists to buy produce directly from farms in the district.
Khim Finan, district governor, told Khmer Times yesterday that the project began earlier this year and currently has five communities in six communes participating.
Finan said the project will be implemented in all communes with potential in the district.
He said that the villagers’ farms have watermelons, mangoes, durian, fish, animals, bees and more. They can also set up camps or tents that are thought to be more tourist-friendly.
“The purpose of this agro-tourism project is to raise the income and improve the livelihoods of the villagers and make the people prosperous, because we have observed that 70 percent of the people here are subsistence farmers and depend only on agriculture,” Finan said.
“However, their farming did not yield enough benefits to improve their livelihoods,” he said.
“This project will bring tourists to the farms of people to buy their products. We focus on retailing or selling directly and making their farms a real resort,” he said.
“In my opinion, through this project, when people harvest there will be tourists coming to buy their products at the farms,” he added.
Finan emphasised that in doing this, the farmers or villagers can make more profit because in the past the villagers only received a wholesale price and had to rely entirely on brokers.
He added that this kind of farming is not very profitable and it is difficult because the location of the district is a remote, mountainous area. There is not enough water or electricity and it costs a lot to transport products. He said, however, there are plans to build a reservoir and expand access to electricity.
According to Finan, there are currently more than 50,000 people living in Banteay Srei district.