… My wife and I are very happy to join with all of you today in putting into use a new achievement that is born out of cooperation between the Forest Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Cambodia BAT (British-American Tobacco) company after my recommendation and suggestion given in Svay Rieng in 2005.
It is the fourth tree nursery station after the three previous ones that I presided over their inaugurations too. Station I in the Province of Kompong Cham’s district of Kompong Siem was inaugurated in 2000, station II is in the Province of Pursat’s district of Sampeo Meas was inaugurated in 2004, and station III is in the Province of Svay Rieng’s district of Svay Rieng inaugurated in 2005. It is worth mentioning that Station IV here could provide a sum of one million trees per annum for tree planting programs – both public and household.
I would like to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to BAT for this respect deserving and praise worthy efforts. BAT is one of the first companies that were privatized in our process of privatization of factories managed by the State with HE Kong Triv as its local partner.
It is worth noting that together with the company’s progress and its ability to provide jobs to the Cambodian people and a regular tax payment of about five million dollars per annum to the state, the company also contributes greatly in various achievements, in which tree nursery is one area of great interest.
What we have achieved here in the mount of Tamao is slightly different from previous ones since the area of this station stretches to cover a surface of 42 hectares with possibilities provided for those who are interested in conducting research and studies on trees and their nursery. Under the Sangkum Reastniyum (Popular Socialist Community), this area was marked as a reserve forest area with its ID 239 referring to dense forest sheltering tigers and elephants, etc. Because of the wars the area has been ravaged to a deserted land.
In 1992, under the State of Cambodia (SoC), we decided to set it as a recovering forest area that was placed under direct supervision of the Department of Forestry led by HE Chan Sarun the current Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. In July 1993, Samdech Preah Karuna Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Samdech Preah Akka Mohesei presided over the ceremony to replant the trees in the mount of Tamao.
It was so unfortunate that the country was taken away of its beloved leaders due to the attempt to establish the Khmer Republic along with flame of war. Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk was on exile and returned to the country to be imprisoned by Polpotists. On November 14, 1991, my wife and I accompanied Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk from Beijing to PhnomPenh. The year 1993 was indeed their first time to plant the trees after being overthrown from the country in 1970.
SoC dissolved itself in its respect for Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who led the Supreme National Council, to set up a coalition Government headed by two prime ministers. This development was in fact not fully in accordance with the Paris Peace Agreement but if it were not for Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk’s wisdom and contribution from all political parties and dignitaries, we would have greater difficulty to achieve what we did so far. First we have convened the meeting to re-instate Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk to the post of Head of State and therefore, Samdech came to Phnom Tamao to plant the trees in his capacity as the Head of State once again.
Noting the destruction of forest cover in the zone 239 in 1980s, 1990s we have placed this area under protection and conservation, while developing it as one of the tourist destinations. We have now in this area a zoo in which about 1,441 animals of 96 different species have been placed under preservation and thousands of them have been released into the natural wild. We now have a tree nursery which would then make this area a green zone while trees from this area could be provided to other places.
There was a conflict of opinion on whether to place this area – because of the tourist potential I mentioned – under direct supervision of which Ministries – Tourist or MAFF. It has been requested to me to place this place under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism. I have refused all along. It should be put in the supervision of the MAFF as far as the area is concerned. All you should be curious is the way to collaborate that a new road is built and the area is kept clean and attracting tourists…
HE Ti Sakun of the Forest Administration has mentioned about a thesis of a student named Taing Huy who studied about advantages which local community could benefit from animal sanctuary and wildlife protection and conservation. 2,095 households in four communes in the neighborhood have been reported to gain such benefit. What I wish to warn them here is that they should operate their business at a reasonable manner. They must not engage in cheating like multiplying prices for items they sell to customers who visit the site… What is best in tourist business is to make them return more than one time.
I would say that we may have to think of the fifth station because there is a need for more trees. According to the report we have up to hundreds of tree nursery stations, from where in between 1985 to 2007, 42 million trees have been given out and 34,083 hectares of land have been placed under new tree cultivation. The report from the province of Takeo informed us that the province achieved 102% of planned rice cultivation and I would recall that Takeo is one of the leading provinces in rice cultivation. As far as rice cultivation is concerned, Takeo as well as other provinces, has had its rice damaged by insects, rain flood ing and drought as lack of sources of water to irrigate.
As of today the cultivation process of rice in the whole country has come to an end with an estimate achievement of 100.28% of planned cultivation on 2,238,938 hectares. The figure indeed suggests that the cultivation area exceeds that of last year. According to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, we would have no more rain by mid of November but except in the next few days there might come some rain due to low pressures condition.
I would urge our people in face of this weather condition to take extremely good care to their cultivation by all means as the Mekong river flood forecast has concluded that it is 70 centimeters less than expected. I would also urge our people to pay attention to better prepare for flood-recession and dry season rice cultivations. Last Friday the Cabinet adopted the 2008 budget in which the amount earmarked to be spent on water resources management would increase twice the current size in 2007.
Along with this as you all have known that I have been bestowed the title of Samdech Akka Moha Seina Techo Hun Sen, with Samdech Chea Sim and Samdech Heng Samrin of other titles, by His Majesty the King Preah Norodom Sihamony. I would like to express my deep gratitude to HM the King for the conferment of so distinguished title. I would not deem it as a title given to me alone but in relation to responsibilities that Samdech Chea Sim, Heng Samrin and me have fulfilled.
I would not be bestowed with the title if I fail to fulfill my tasks and obligations. I have been able to do so also because I have the support of the armed forces, the monks and our beloved compatriots. I know full well that this distinguished title enhances sense of responsibilities in the present moment and in the future, and we would not disappoint HM the King for his trust.
We also apply what had been done under the Sangkum Reast Niyum in terms of re-foresting, tasking the military engineering in road renovation and building. There is no other option but to continue with people’s democracy under the leadership of CPP – a concept that is similar to Sangkum Reast Niyum. Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk led a crusade for independence from French colonialism and rebuilt the country under the time when there were serious threats of wars from countries around us.
I am so proud and thankful that Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Samdech Preash Akka Mohesai always allowed their Sangkum Reast Niyum to be mentioned as predecessor of the Royal Government’s efforts in rebuilding the country.
In my capacity as the Prime Minister I have so far reported to HM the King some angles of the rectangular strategy and there a few left to be done, etc. I would solemnly declare that I would not do things that would disappoint or devalue the trust so generously bestowed upon me…■