In addition to the prepared text at the inauguration of the tree nursery centre at Svay Rieng, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked contributors to the establishment of such kind of tree nursery centre, and gave his remarks on natural calamity and the Cambodian efforts in dealing with insufficient rain.
… Today I have a great pleasure to come back to Svay Rieng to inaugurate a tree nursery centre which is a contribution from various persons and institutions concerned – and named after me – Hun Sen Tree Nursery Centre (HSTNC). What we have actually implemented here today is indeed for the sake of the country to become a forest recovered one while ceasing to deforest it. We wish to make our country green in all seasons. This is the fourth centre of its kind that I have inaugurated so far as gift from the British-American-Cambodian Tobacco (BACT). The first one is in the commune of Krola, Kompong Siem district, Kompong Cham province, the second one is in the commune of Chub, Tbong Khmum district also Kompong Cham province, and the third one is in the province of Pusath.
… What impresses me also is the fact that the company has chosen the right place to do so. Svay Rieng is a province with the least coverage of forest. I wish to thank the BACT for its generous donation. BACT comes to the place with its assistance and the beneficiaries of this project is for the people in the area. I would be grateful if foreign partners and other private companies who wish to provide aids would see this as a good example of giving out their aid or gift. According to the reports of the Forest Administration as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, in addition to what Mr. Arin Ung has just said, over the past years, the three HSTNC since 1998 have provided some 5.8 million trees for planting along the national road 6, national road 7, small roads in the provinces of Kompong Cham, Kratie, Kompong Thom, Pursath, Kandal and Prey Veng. I really am grateful to such valuable contribution.
… Prior to the establishment of the fourth HSTNC, the previous three centres could provide some 1.8 million trees per year, with this one coming into existence, the centers could go for 2.4 million trees in its recent capacity of breeding some 0.6 million trees per year. If it were to increase its production to one million trees per year, the centers have the capacity to offer some 2.8 million trees per year. As a partner to the Royal Government of Cambodia, BACT proves a great effort in recovering our country with forest, which is indeed for the benefit of the people of Cambodia.
… Tree nursery is not new for Cambodia after 1979. Take for instance in Svay Rieng, in 1985, I went to Romeas Hek district for the first time and we had a tree nursery center there already. I went there again in 2005 to see that the center is still in existence and expanding its size. Svay Rieng has indeed proven out to be a success story in household tree nursery and planting, particularly in household fish culture.
… After assuming the post of Prime Minister since January 1985, most of my trips had been to Takeo province, where I did a study issues relating to land reforms, and to the province of Svay Rieng to over see household tree planting and fish culture. Once I traveled with bong (Cambodian way of calling someone as brother in token of respect) Heng Samkai, who is indeed the blood brother of bong Heng Samrin on motorbike at around 3:30 pm to Baavet to observe household tree planting and fish ponds along the road. He told me about the cycle of fish breeding that in rainy season fish are out in the rice field, but when they come back, they will bring with them with them other fishes into the ponds in dry season.
… In Svay Rieng, it is hard to get firewoods and people talked about dipping rice straw in cow dung and dry it for use as firewood later. That is why I am saying when BATC comes to Svay Rieng to provide people here with trees to plant on their own is a correct example and they have proven to have conducted an appropriate study of places where this kind of initiative is needed the most. I would also like to have your attention on the monk’s participation which play very crucial role in tree planting. Take for instance, we have so many trees planted on the pagoda’s fields which are used for building race boats. Unfortunately most of them are destroyed under the Pol Pot’s regime. After the fall of Pol Pot, the monks once again are taking lead in growing trees of all kinds.
… Our success factors here lie in the fact that we have to locate tree nursery centers where our people could get them free of charge. I have a TNC-1 in Krang Yov (Kandal province), a TNC-2 Phnom Chiso (Takeo province), a TNC-3 in Roleang Ken (Kandal province) and TNC-4 in Kompong Thom. This indeed is not the only factor. Whether our people participate in this activities or not is the most important issue. If the people do not like to grow them, these trees would stay here in the center. The matter is how can we create trust among the people. We have from medium to long-term trees, from fruit trees like jackfruits, mango to trees used in construction. As far as long-grown trees for construction is concerned, people would not want to plant them in their household plot of land. We should mobilize them to plant these sorts of trees in pagoda’s field.
… In Krang Yov I initiated a garden of marriage, the idea of which is that all communes should prepare a piece of land for the newly married couple to grow two trees, and they could then tell their children later that these are the trees that they have grown while getting married. Still planting trees in the people’s households is more important factor of success.
… Let me once again reaffirm my appreciation and thanks to BACT and would approve should the company wish to expand the station to number 5, 6, 7… I will be very happy to come inaugurate them and the station will continue to give their trees out to people to plant on their own. According to a report by HE Agricultural Minister Chan Sarun, over the past years, we have given out about 30 million trees from tree nursery centers throughout the countries, including those administered by the monks. One important point in this regard is that we have grown 30 million trees but we may have lost the same number or even more. There is now this conflict between Global Witness and SGS, over a report by this private Swiss company.
… I remembered that on October 22, 1998, prior to the birth of the elected Government for the second term, then Cambodia was under the co-premiership of HE Ung Huot and me, I launched anti illegal-logging campaign recovering a sum of 3.5 million hectares, while issuing thereafter policies aimed at preventing the illegal logging. Why then there is still problem of logging? I would clarify that logging in terms of clearing land for farming is undeniable. On top of that it has so many predators from bush fire to human being who log them for construction purpose such as building pagodas, housing, etc. Another source of concern is that about 90% of our people use firewood for cooking and they chopped off small and long-burning trees for that purpose. About ten percent of the population dwelling in the city cooks with gas. As far as I know in Svay Rieng people like to plant eucalyptus trees because they grow fast. Once they are chopped off, there are few more shootings growing up.
… I would urge on the other hand BACT to conduct a study on smoking, as we all notice the success story of tobacco planting in Cambodia. We observe the no-smoking campaign but to see that there is a reduction of smoking in one group of population, while there still is in another. It is worth mentioning from my remark that in some countries, smoking has ceased to exist among older people only to increase among younger generation. No-smoking campaign has yet to yield a resounding success. Tobacco planting is on the increase in some countries. As for Cambodia, growing tobacco in area along the Mekong River from Kratie down to the border with Vietnam will surely continue.
… What should give our consideration on the amount of firewood used in steaming tobacco leaves? We should try to figure out how to replace firewood in the steaming process – electricity or coal. I have once introduced for experiment the burning of coal imported from Vietnam to boil sugar palm juice into sugar in the commune of Roleang Ken. It was not a success story then. Aside from this we have firewood-burning brick oven which definitely consume immeasurable amount of wood. That is why the Government allows for imports of bricks and tiles from neighboring countries, where they use coal to drill the bricks. The Government was criticized for doing so but those who criticized the Government did not make a calculation for economic cost over the product to be produced in the country from those to be imported. I accepted the import of brick and tile from Vietnam because of better economic cost… We have to increase our research to find other means to replace burning using firewood which create tremendous pressure on our forest, and overpass the replanting capacity.
… Aside from this I wish to share my sadness with the people of Svay Rieng, which is one of the most severely affected provinces in terms of shortage of rainfall. According to the report I have here up to now it has put only about 14% of total area of 120,000 hectares under cultivation. Svay Rieng is one of the five worst rainfall shortage provinces besides Kompong Speu, Prey Veng, Kandal and Takeo. As far as natural calamity is concerned I think it is difficult for any one leader in the world to deal with. First, natural disaster, take for instance Tsunami was beyond reaching and assisting capability. The best that leaders can do is to put in place warning systems. When disaster strikes, no matter how rich and advanced the country may be, it is always hard to deal with. We have natural calamity in forms of earthquakes, typhoons, droughts in many parts of the world. The advanced-technology United States of America is also suffering from hurricane. Did the US log down trees to suffer such a fate?
… The price of oil is hiking. Is this a separate incident for Cambodia or is it a general trend in the world? As of now the best way of curbing the price of oil is to decrease traveling needs. Take for instance in Thailand they closed fuel station early at night. I wish to take this opportune moment to inform you that by the end of 2005, all state institutions will have to trim down their fuel consumption by ten percent, the saving from which will be used to assist people in pumping water for the people’s rice field. Throughout Cambodia, as of now, we have put only about 65% of productive land under cultivation, though we still have some more time for rice growing season… Having said so I have ordered to send in tractor team and water pumps to come to Svay Rieng, and I would recommend HE Cheang Am to lead them.
… I would also urge the CPP working group in the province to help mobilize forces to help our people in their rice transplantation. I wish to reiterate the Royal Government and the Cambodian People’s Party’s policy of imposing no tax on farmers. I declared this point in September 1991 at the CPP’s congress prior to the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement. I wish to also take this chance to express my gratefulness to thank Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh in his capacity as President of Funcinpec for his support of the free-tax policy for farmers. The Royal Government sees this as a help for farmer whether it is a point that is contradicting to the WTO on farmers’ subsidy. In real term, the resources saved from paying tax, in the Royal Government’s purpose, is for our farmers to use in building their homes, transport means, etc. It is indeed a direct investment in the farmers. There are about four or five countries in the world that impose no tax on farmers’ land. CPP declared, and I reiterate it, to claim no tax on land for farmers for a period of ten to fifteen years.
Samdech Hun Sen in that occasion offered a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of 7 January in the commune of Pur Ta Hao, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Chong Prek in the commune of Svay Rieng…/.