Remittances Pull Farmers Deeper Into Debt, Research Finds

Remittances Pull Farmers Deeper Into Debt, Research Finds

13 March 2019


FILE PHOTO - Cambodian migrant workers sit in a bus upon arrival at Cambodia-Thailand's international border gate in Poipet, Cambodia, from Thailand, Tuesday, June 17, 2014.
FILE PHOTO – Cambodian migrant workers sit in a bus upon arrival at Cambodia-Thailand’s international border gate in Poipet, Cambodia, from Thailand, Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

The study found that families receiving remittances saw an average increase in debt of 6 percent.WASHINGTON DC — 

Remittances sent home by Cambodian migrant workers result in their families falling deeper into debt as they become more prone to borrowing, a study has found.

The report, “The Cambodia Debt Trap? A Study of the Relationship Between Remittance and Household Debt”, published in January by the Future Forum think tank, found that households that received more remittance payments tended to rely more heavily on loans from banks, microfinance institutions, and private lenders.

“The situation of remittances and debt in the Cambodian context in the short run can be viewed positively as it helps migrant families ensure their living requirements [are met], such as food, transport, and accommodation,” wrote Lor Samnang, the lead researcher.

But in the long term, Samnang found that families become over-indebted as loans are used to finance unprofitable ventures.

The study found that families receiving remittances saw an average increase in debt of 6 percent.

Some 2 million Cambodians work overseas in countries such as Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, predominantly in low-paid jobs such as construction, fisheries, manufacturing, farming, and the service industry.

They send home more than $400 million annually, according to the World Bank.

“Debt has forced many into migration, but what we’ve found is not only that,” said Ou Virak, president of the Future Forum. “We’ve found out that those who have migrated are indebted even further after they have more money. It’s now not only debt that has forced them to migrate, but migration is putting them deeper in debt.”

The Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community, a farmers association, said debt was the second most important issue facing farmers after lack of market access for their produce.

“The main factor is their livelihood, which is getting harder and harder,” said Theng Savoeun, coordinator of Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community. “Their agricultural work in rural areas is getting tougher. Their rice or agricultural products do not have enough market. These have forced them to migrate or seek other jobs.”

Formal lenders may charge interest rates as high as 20 percent per annum, while informal lenders often charge more.

“Prices do not enable our farmers to make more profit to pay their debt,” said agriculture expert Yang Saign Koma, chairman of the board of directors of the Grassroots Democracy Party. “We’ve seen this getting worse and worse. At the end of the month, they are worried about finding money to repay debt. This will become a big catastrophe for Cambodia in the next four or five years.”

Former opposition politicians have criticized Cambodian agricultural policy for its failure to find markets for farmers and boost production.

“This is a big deal,” said Mu Sochua, vice president of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party. “People migrate because of debt. The debt is not used only for meeting the needs of their agriculture, but to pay for other services like health and education for their children. These should be free, but they are not available.”

The study also found that only about a third of loans were used to finance economic activities, with most of the debt going on essentials and non-profitable spending. It recommends a financial literacy program and support from major financial institutions and the authorities.

“At the moment I see that this is a topic that must be debated to pressure banking institutions, especially microfinance, to pay more attention before giving out loans,” said Virak. “They are worried to lose their money when people are unable to pay back and they cannot confiscate their houses or rice fields or farm. Therefore they must be cautious.

“I believe that putting pressure on the banks is a more effective measure.”

ការ​ស្រាវជ្រាវ​ថា​ប្រាក់​បញ្ញើ​ធ្វើ​ឱ្យ​គ្រួសារ​ជន​ចំណាកស្រុក​ជំពាក់​បំណុល​កាន់តែ​ខ្លាំង

05 មិនា 2019


រូបឯកសារ៖ ពលករចំណាក​ស្រុក​កម្ពុជាធ្វើដំណើរឆ្លងព្រំដែន​ថៃចូល​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា តាមច្រកខេត្តសាកែវ ប្រទេសថៃ កាលពីថ្ងែទី១៥ ខែមិថុនា ឆ្នាំ២០១៤។
រូបឯកសារ៖ ពលករចំណាក​ស្រុក​កម្ពុជាធ្វើដំណើរឆ្លងព្រំដែន​ថៃចូល​ប្រទេស​កម្ពុជា តាមច្រកខេត្តសាកែវ ប្រទេសថៃ កាលពីថ្ងែទី១៥ ខែមិថុនា ឆ្នាំ២០១៤។

ក្នុងឆ្នាំ​២០១៨ ពលករចំណាកស្រុក​​ផ្ញើ​ប្រាក់​ចំនួន​៤១៤​លានដុល្លារ​ទៅ​ឱ្យ​ក្រុមគ្រួសារ។ នេះ​បើ​តាម​តួលេខ​ឆ្នាំ​២០១៨​របស់​ធនាគារ​ពិភព​លោក។វ៉ាស៊ីនតោន — 

ប្រាក់​បញ្ញើពីក្រៅ​ប្រទេស​របស់ពលករ​ចំណាក​ស្រុក​មិនអាច​ជួយ​ដោះបន្ទុក​ប្រាក់​បំណុលរបស់​ក្រុមគ្រួសារ​ទេ។​ ផ្ទុយទៅវិញ​ វា​បាន​ក្លាយ​ជា​អន្ទាក់​មួយ​ធ្វើ​ឱ្យ​មាន​ការ​ជំពាក់​បំណុល​កាន់តែ​ខ្លាំងឡើង​ក្នុង​រយៈ​ពេល​យូរ​ ដែល​អាច​ធ្វើ​ឱ្យ​កសិករធ្លាក់​ក្នុង​ភាព​ក្រីក្រ​កាន់តែ​ជ្រៅ។ នេះ​បើតាម​លទ្ធផល​នៃ​ការសិក្សា​ស្រាវជ្រាវ​មួយ។​

Continue reading “Remittances Pull Farmers Deeper Into Debt, Research Finds”

Interview: Book Author’s 10-Year Observation of Cambodia

Interview: Book Author’s 10-Year Observation of Cambodia

09 March 2019


FILE: In this Saturday, July 17, 2010 photo, a Cambodian flag with a depiction of Angkor Wat in the center is hoisted near a construction site in Siem Reap, about 143 miles (230 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
FILE: In this Saturday, July 17, 2010 photo, a Cambodian flag with a depiction of Angkor Wat in the center is hoisted near a construction site in Siem Reap, about 143 miles (230 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

My book is exactly about “Cambodia in the 21st century”. I thought the book could include some kind of photos of Cambodian society now. What is happening and what is changing, from a traditional to a more modern society.PHNOM PENH — 

[Editor’s Note: Marc Baudinet, author of “Cambodia In The Twenty First Century: A Short Social Study”, sat down with VOA Khmer’s Ky Mengly to share the key takeaways from his recently published work and his observations of the country, from the state of the rule of law to domestic politics, foreign policy and socio-economic progress.]

Marc Baudinet, author of the newly-published book Cambodia in the 21st Century, during his interview at VOA Khmer’s Phnom Penh bureau on February 24, 2019. (Ky Mengly/VOA Khmer)

VOA: How long did you spend researching and writing this book?

Baudinet: I came here the first time in 2010. I come from Europe. Everything was very different, quite amazing compared to where I come from. And I was struck straight away by how different things are and how I couldn’t quite understand how people interacted. So, I wanted to know more about that and I started doing interviews, asking people questions in a very informal ways. Why’s this and why’s that? And much later basically three years ago, I thought I could write something about how Cambodians are changing fast. Therefore, it would be interesting to observe Cambodian society now. That’s how I got the idea to do the book. And it took me two and a half years to write this.

VOA: Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?

Marc Baudinet, author of the newly-published book Cambodia in the 21st Century, during his interview at VOA Khmer’s Phnom Penh bureau on February 24, 2019. (Ky Mengly/VOA Khmer)
Marc Baudinet, author of the newly-published book Cambodia in the 21st Century, during his interview at VOA Khmer’s Phnom Penh bureau on February 24, 2019. (Ky Mengly/VOA Khmer)

Baudinet: My book is exactly about “Cambodia in the 21st century”. I thought the book could include some kind of photos of Cambodian society now. What is happening and what is changing, from a traditional to a more modern society. People’s education is improving, more people are going to school, people are buying cars, mobile phones, and people are getting jobs that never really existed here before. So, there is a lot happening in this society and this is my point really. And how is that affecting the traditional society? What are the consequences on how people interact? All of these interest me and basically that’s my reason why I wrote the book.​

FILE: A Cambodian women inks her finger after casting her ballot at a polling station in Takhmao city, just outside of Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh, Sunday, July 29, 2018. (Sok Khemara/VOA Khmer)
FILE: A Cambodian women inks her finger after casting her ballot at a polling station in Takhmao city, just outside of Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh, Sunday, July 29, 2018. (Sok Khemara/VOA Khmer)

VOA: In the book you seem to lack optimism about the current Cambodian government. Why is that?

Baudinet: So, I started writing the book in 2016 and everyone was talking about the Commune Elections in 2017 and the General Elections in 2018 and I thought that many people were quite optimistic that things could change and then suddenly there were upheavals. Everything took a different path in November 2017. The rule of law is a key aspect of a successful society. If you take Singapore and Singapore’s rule of law is very strong, meritocracy is very strong, good governance is very strong and that society is very successful. Here, the rule of law is shaky. It is very much about having more money than whoever is against you. Therefore, there is a problem for people to trust in their own society and have the courage to invest for instance when they know possibly that the law is not on their side because they’re not rich enough for instance. Meritocracy is also very important. It is improving I think. I think that there are many problems. I think as education is improving, meritocracy is also more valued than a few years ago. So, this is very good for the future. However, there is still a long way to go. So, I’m sometimes optimistic and sometimes a bit pessimistic here.

VOA: You mention in the book that the “natural order” in Cambodia does not sit well with democracy. What do you mean by that?

Baudinet: The idea of democracy … is that basically every individual every person has the same rights and has the same value. No matter whether they’re a cleaner, a poor farmer, they’re as important as rich land owners or rich business persons. Everyone, when people vote, everyone is the same. Equality is very much the key or let’s say not the key but the grounding within which democracy can grow. Now here in the traditional society in Asia in general not only in Cambodia, the idea that everybody is equal is not part of a traditional understanding of how a society functions. People accept that there is an elite and then there are a lot of other people and those people should just do their work and not challenge authority. Therefore, here I think in terms of democracy, the idea that everyone is equal, is possibly not yet accepted, especially by of course the elites.

FILE: Prime Minister Hun Sen and Heng Samrin celebrated 40th anniversary of victory over Khmer Rough on January 7th 2019 at Olympic stadium. (Photo from Facebook page of Samdech Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister)
FILE: Prime Minister Hun Sen and Heng Samrin celebrated 40th anniversary of victory over Khmer Rough on January 7th 2019 at Olympic stadium. (Photo from Facebook page of Samdech Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister)

​VOA: Towards the end of the book you draw a comparison between King Ang Duong’s embrace of France and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s embrace of China. What is the implication of this?

Baudinet: Geopolitics is very much a power game between different players; some are big players and some are smaller players. Cambodia, in the 19th century, had a lot of problems with its two bigger neighbors: Vietnam and Thailand. For Cambodia, the king decided to call a third power to somehow help. But there was a price that possibly the king did not realize. Cambodia became a colony, lost its independence. Now of course, the situation is very different. The context is vastly different from those days. However geopolitics remains of course a power game. I was wondering whether the way Cambodia today is possibly giving too much to China or a lot to China. Is it going to affect in the longer term prospects of Cambodia’s independence. Not that China is going to colonize Cambodia. No, those days are over. But there are other ways to manipulate or influence smaller countries.

Continue reading “Interview: Book Author’s 10-Year Observation of Cambodia”

Good Governance and Rule of Law of Cambodia

បើគ្មានថវិកាសម្រាប់ចែករំលែក ចូរខិតខំចែករំលែកចំណេះដឹង និងសិក្សា ស្វែងយល់គ្រប់ពេលវេលា!! ចូររស់ដើម្បីរៀន ហើយរៀនមួយជីវិតដើម្បីរស់ ចែករំលែកដើម្បីរស់ ហើយ រស់នៅដើម្បីចែករំលែក ចូរញ៉ាំដើម្បីរស់ ប៉ុន្តែសូមកុំរស់ដើម្បីញ៉ាំ!! ចំណេះដឹង គុណធម៌ សុជីវធម៌ សច្ចធម៌ និងសប្បុរសធម៌ ឬ ការបរិច្ចាគ ដោយមិនរំពឹងនូវការតបស្នងសងគុណ ឬ ផលប្រយោជន៍នយោបាយសេដ្ឋ កិច្ចត្រឡប់មកវិញ គឺជាគុណតម្លៃមហាសាលរបស់មនុស្ស។ Slides and message by Mr. So Munin Nhean How to fix democracy?
Courtesy: http://en.chbab.net/about-cambodian-law

Happy Women’s Rights Day 8 March 2019

Lyrics:
One, one, one, one, one…

Talkin’ in my sleep at night, makin’ myself crazy
(Out of my mind, out of my mind)
Wrote it down and read it out, hopin’ it would save me
(Too many times, too many times)

My love, he makes me feel like nobody else, nobody else
But my love, he doesn’t love me, so I tell myself, I tell myself

One: Don’t pick up the phone
You know he’s only callin’ ’cause he’s drunk and alone
Two: Don’t let him in
You’ll have to kick him out again
Three: Don’t be his friend
You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning
And if you’re under him, you ain’t gettin’ over him

I got new rules, I count ’em
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself

I keep pushin’ forwards, but he keeps pullin’ me backwards
(Nowhere to turn, no way)
(Nowhere to turn, no)
Now I’m standin’ back from it, I finally see the pattern
(I never learn, I never learn)

But my love, he doesn’t love me, so I tell myself, I tell myself
I do, I do, I do

One: Don’t pick up the phone
You know he’s only callin’ ’cause he’s drunk and alone
Two: Don’t let him in
You’ll have to kick him out again
Three: Don’t be his friend
You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning
And if you’re under him, you ain’t gettin’ over him

I got new rules, I count ’em
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself
I got new rules, I count ’em
I gotta tell them to myself

Practice makes perfect
I’m still tryna learn it by heart (I got new rules, I count ’em)
Eat, sleep, and breathe it
Rehearse and repeat it, ’cause I… (I got new…)

One: Don’t pick up the phone (yeah)
You know he’s only callin’ ’cause he’s drunk and alone (alone)
Two: Don’t let him in (uh-ooh)
You’ll have to kick him out again (again)
Three: Don’t be his friend
You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning
And if you’re under him, you ain’t gettin’ over him

I got new rules, I count ’em
I got new rules, I count ’em
(Whoa-ooh, whoa-ooh, whoa)
I gotta tell them to myself
I got new rules, I count ’em
(Baby, you know I count ’em)
I gotta tell them to myself

Don’t let him in, don’t let him in
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t…
Don’t be his friend, don’t be his friend
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t…
Don’t let him in, don’t let him in
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t…
Don’t be his friend, don’t be his friend
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t…
You’re gettin’ over him

មួយ មួយ មួយ មួយ មួយ…

និយាយដាក់ខ្លួនឯងយប់ៗធ្វើអោយខ្ញុំចង់ឆ្កួត
(ហួសចិត្តនឹងគិត ហួសចិត្តនឹងគិត)
កត់ត្រាទុក រួចអានវាអោយលឺខ្លាំង
(ច្រើនដង ច្រើនដង)

មនុស្សខ្ញុំស្រលាញ់ គាត់ធ្វើអោយខ្ញុំស្រលាញ់គាត់តែម្នាក់គត់ ម្នាក់គត់
តែមនុស្សដែលខ្ញុំស្រលាញ់ មិនស្រលាញ់ខ្ញុំទេ ខ្ញុំប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯង ខ្ញុំប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯង

ទី១៖ កុំលើកទូរស័ព្ទ
អ្នកដឹងទេ គាត់ទូរសព្ទមកតែពេលគាត់ស្រវឹងនិងនៅម្នាក់ឯង
ទី២៖ កុំអោយគាត់ចូលផ្ទះ
អ្នកត្រូវតែទាត់គាត់ចេញពីផ្ទះសាជាថ្មី
ទី៣៖ កុំធ្វើជាសិ្នទ្ធស្នាលនឹងគាត់
អ្នកដឹងទេអ្នកនឹងក្រោកព្រឹកឡើងដឹងថានៅលើគ្រែដេករបស់គាត់
ហើយអ្នកស្ថិតនៅពីក្រោមគាត់ អ្នកមិនអាចឡើងពីលើគាត់បានទេ

ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
ខ្ញុំត្រូវតែប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯងអោយដឹង
ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
ខ្ញុំត្រូវប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯងអោយដឹង

ខ្ញុំព្យាយាមរុញខ្លួនទៅមុខ តែគាត់ទាញខ្ញុំថយក្រោយ
(គ្មានផ្ឡុវបត់ គ្មានទេ)
(គ្មានផ្លូវបត់ មិនទេ)
ឥឡូវខ្ញុំក្រោឈរឡើង ខ្ញុំសំលឹងឃើញរោគសញ្ញាវា
(ខ្ញុំមិនដែលរៀនមេរៀន ខ្ញុំមិនដែលរៀនមេរៀន)

តែមនុស្សដែលខ្ញុំស្រលាញ់ មិនស្រលាញ់ខ្ញុំទេ ដូច្នេះខ្ញុំប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯង ខ្ញុំប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯង

ខ្ញុំធ្វើ ខ្ញុំធ្វើ ខ្ញុំធ្វើ

ទី១៖ កុំលើកទូរស័ព្ទ
អ្នកដឹងទេ គាត់ទូរសព្ទមកតែពេលគាត់ស្រវឹងនិងនៅម្នាក់ឯង
ទី២៖ កុំអោយគាត់ចូលផ្ទះ
អ្នកត្រូវតែទាត់គាត់ចេញពីផ្ទះសាជាថ្មី
ទី៣៖ កុំធ្វើជាសិ្នទ្ធស្នាលនឹងគាត់
អ្នកដឹងទេអ្នកនឹងក្រោកព្រឹកឡើងដឹងថានៅលើគ្រែដេករបស់គាត់
ហើយអ្នកស្ថិតនៅពីក្រោមគាត់ អ្នកមិនអាចឡើងពីលើគាត់បានទេ

ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
ខ្ញុំត្រូវតែប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯងអោយដឹង
ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល

ខ្ញុំត្រូវប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯងអោយដឹង

ហ្វឹកហាត់ច្រើនដង ធ្វើអោយយើងស្ទាត់
ខ្ញុំនៅតែព្យាយារៀនដោយបេះដូង (ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល)
ញ៉ាំ ដេក និងដកដង្ហើមវា
សមវានិងរំលឹកវា ព្រោះខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី

ទី១៖ កុំលើកទូរស័ព្ទ (ចាស)
អ្នកដឹងទេ គាត់ទូរសព្ទមកតែពេលគាត់ស្រវឹងនិងនៅម្នាក់ឯង (ម្នាក់ឯង)
ទី២៖ កុំអោយគាត់ចូលផ្ទះ (អូ-ហូ)
អ្នកត្រូវតែទាត់គាត់ចេញពីផ្ទះសាជាថ្មី (ម្តងទៀត)
ទី៣៖ កុំធ្វើជាសិ្នទ្ធស្នាលនឹងគាត់
អ្នកដឹងទេអ្នកនឹងក្រោកព្រឹកឡើងដឹងថានៅលើគ្រែដេករបស់គាត់
ហើយអ្នកស្ថិតនៅពីក្រោមគាត់ អ្នកមិនអាចឡើងពីលើគាត់បានទេ

ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
(វ៉ោ-អូ៊ វ៉ោ-អ៊ូ អូ៊)
ខ្ញុំត្រូវតែប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯងអោយដឹង
ខ្ញុំបានច្បាប់ថ្មី ខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល
(សំលាញ់ អ្នកដឹងទេខ្ញុំរាប់បញ្ចូល)

ខ្ញុំត្រូវប្រាប់ខ្លួនឯងអោយដឹង

កុំអោយគាត់ចូលផ្ទះ កុំអោយគាត់ចូលផ្ទះ
កុំ កុំ កុំ កុំ
កុំធ្វើជាសិ្នទ្ធស្នាលនឹងគាត់ កុំធ្វើជាសិ្នទ្ធស្នាលនឹងគាត់
កុំ កុំ កុំ កុំ
កុំអោយគាត់ចូលផ្ទះ កុំអោយគាត់ចូលផ្ទះ
កុំ កុំ កុំ កុំ
កុំធ្វើជាសិ្នទ្ធស្នាលនឹងគាត់ កុំធ្វើជាសិ្នទ្ធស្នាលនឹងគាត់
កុំ កុំ កុំ កុំ
អ្នកបាននៅពីលើគាត់