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February 26, 2013
by John Vink
Cassava: you see it everywhere on the last 100km to Banlung. White patches neatly spread out for drying along the road, whole families peeling and chopping the roots, mountains of bags stuffed with the dry chunks waiting to be loaded on trucks, bald hills after harvest when the thin stems were cut and the root dug out. I couldn't imagine that we needed that much starch and tapioca. Anyhow, it seems cassava is yet another product the agro-industry needs the soil of Cambodia for. Yet another product, like palm oil trees in other parts of the country, which is grown but not processed or even consumed by Cambodia. It just generates relatively fast money, with no added value which could have been created by a processing plant, and triggers land speculation on what is left of the forest. Vast patches of land next to the reservoirs of the planned dams are earmarked by investors already, whether it belongs to the indigenous communities or not.

No posts for the coming days... I'll be on my way to Stung Treng for a ceremony related to the dams held by the indigenous people.

See also here, here, here, and here...