The Human Rights Party is seeking to reach voters in Cambodia's
broad agricultural sector by proposing a plan to give a unified voice to
The party has already established a farmer union, which it
hopes would grow into a larger congress. Together, the farmers could push for
governmental policies that benefit agriculture, including subsidies and
low-interest rate loans.
"Eighty percent of Cambodians are farmers and are an
economic and political force for stabilizing Cambodian politics," said Kem
Sokha, president of the party. "The Human Rights Party has a policy to
establish the national farmer congress, to push for economic growth and
Growth in the agricultural sector would bring more economic
growth nationwide, benefiting vendors, workers and state employees, he said.
Farmers face numerous challenges, including the lack of
farmland, irrigation, modern techniques, capital and access to markets. They
also face high interest rates for borrowing.
Sok Sina, an independent economic analyst, said he was not
opposed to a congress.
"First, we have to free farmers from poverty," he
said. "If the farmers are in poverty, we cannot promote national economic
But the congress should be free from political control, said
Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian
Center for Study and
Development in Agriculture.
"If the congress is not under the control of anyone,
and serves only the farmers' interests, it will be a force to develop
agricultural development," he said.