A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Labour shortage vexes farmers in Pailin province [It is hard to believe that Cambodians don't want to work for $6.25 to $7.50 a day, while the minimum wage is only about $2 a day. I think the real problem is job advertisements]

Thursday, 06 December 2012
Phnom Penh Post
By Rann Reuy

Dim Channa, an 18-year-old worker, on a corn plantation in Pailin province. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
Farmers in Pailin province have complained about a shortage of workers during this year’s corn and cassava harvesting season.

Meas Loeun, team leader of Momean Moy community’s 38 teams in Pailin, said the shortage of workers to help harvest corn and cassava is a major challenge for plantation owners because many workers have migrated to Thailand.

“The price of corn and cassava is suitable in the market, but the fact is that there is a shortage of workers,” he said. “We’re really lacking workers because most of them went to Thailand,” he added.

According to Meas Loeun, a worker on corn and cassava plantations can earn 25,000 to 30,000 ($6.25 to $7.50) riel a day, but workers prefer to work in Thailand where pay is higher, rather than in Cambodia where they would be safer.

The harvesting season, which started in October, began slowly this year with 20 to 30 per cent of crops harvested so far.

“Right now, owners have tried to harvest their corn because it is like rice, it will re-grow if it falls on the ground during the rain,” said Meas Loeun.

“Some farmers have lost some income in order to harvest their corn at all and some farmers have received loans from banks to hire workers, but they’re demanding a wage increase,” he added.

Meas Loeun said that the community had looked for workers from other provinces but found it difficult to attract them because workers nationwide have a preference for work in Thailand.

“We went to Kampong Chham province, but workers there have also gone to Thailand,” he said.

Pailin Deputy Governor Koet Sothea said the migration of workers to Thailand is generally illegal.

Another reason for the shortage, according to Koet Sothea, is the number of crops being harvested at the same time, increasing demand on an already small labour force.

“Actually, the major shortage of workers for the corn harvest is because this season, farmers are also harvesting cassava and rice at the same time,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com


Anonymous said...

This is the trend, Khmers going abroad to look for work, no one want to stay back in Cambodia.

Anonymous said...

Without a sustainable workforce how is our economy going to survive. All these idiots are doing is just sustaining Thailand economy, hardship comes first before benefits. Thailands fields are always green, while Cambodia rots because no one wants to work so pathetic. Love Cambodia first before jumping to Thailand where you face discrimination. DCPP guy

Anonymous said...

1. Government must get trade agreements with the buyer's country increase the price for our produces. So Khmer farmers have more money to pay local workers competitive to Siam offered.

2. Government must help workers with transportation to and from the fields.

3. Khmer peoples MUST be thinking more of a collective national economy building. Khmer peoples usually not UNITED on most subjects related to national interests if not help them personally.