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Millions Lost in Border Blockade: Officials

Cambodians lost more than $3 million in revenue for cassava exports in the first two weeks of September, as demonstrators on the Thai side have refused to let shipments through, officials said Friday.

Hundreds of Thai villagers have forced the closure of the Boeng Trakuon border crossing, blocking cassava trucks from Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchey provinces and halting the passage of 4,000 tons of the good per day.

“The prevention of Cambodian cassava export has a cost to the Cambodian economy and the livings of Cambodia people along the border with Thailand,” said Nou Yoth, chief of the border checkpoint. Officials from provinces on both sides of the border had agreed to solve the problem, he said.

“The Thai authorities should resolve the demonstrations,” he said. “Our people have tried hard to plant cassava trees, but there is no export.”

Cassava traders say six Thai companies have been prevented from buying their goods because of the blockade, causing the product to spoil.

“I’ll lose my business, buying cassava from people, and my income, affecting my living,” said Chev Tav a council member of Thmor Puok district. “I cannot earn an income if the Thai companies do not buy cassava from Cambodia.” He had lost more than $7,300 in trade so far, he said.

Kor Dam, a cassava farmer, said he was facing the loss of $30,000 and budget problems for next year thanks to the blockade.