RATANAKIRI, Jan. 25 (Khmer Times) – The governor of Ratanakiri province has told Ratanakiri’s indigenous people to adjust their traditional ways of living to improve the living standards of their families.
Speaking at the Agri-Culture Fair, held at the provincial Department of Culture and Arts on the weekend, Ratanakiri governor Thon Saron addressed the ethnic farmers and urged them to make adjustments to their traditional farming methods.
“It’s really hard for me to see the tradition of our indigenous farmers, both [ethnic tribes] Tampuan and Kreoung, to allow their cattle to run free anywhere they want. Can’t we stop doing this? We should put them in stables,” he said.
He added that participants who have undergone training under the Annadya program should advise their families to change their approach to animal domestication.
Yun Samnol, who is the National Coordinator of the Annadya program, a community development project supported by CEDAC and sponsored by the European Union, also urged villagers to consider the governor’s plea.
“The traditional way of domestication is actually causing problems for them. For example, if they had the potential to produce four tons of rice from one hectare, they couldn’t achieve it, because the [free-ranging] cattle are destroying their crops,” he said.
Mr. Samnol said that the indigenous villagers of Ratanakiri had put a lot of effort into their training program, which was designed to train them in new farming methods, alternative approaches to animal husbandry, organic vegetable growing and the production of souvenirs and clothing which reflect their cultural heritage.
The Annadya program allocated $4 million to educate and train Ratanakiri’s ethnic villagers across five districts, over the last three years.