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Plummeting prices put resin farmers in a sticky situation

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People who depend on resin to make a living are expressing concern about declining incomes and resin trees due to forest logging. TUNRING Redd+Project

Plummeting prices put resin farmers in a sticky situation

Families that depend on resin to make a living are expressing concern about declining incomes and resin trees due to forest logging.

Hiep Chou, 35, is one of them. Chou, who lives in Kampong Thom province, said declining revenue has been an issue the past two years.

“I have been a resin tapper for more than six years in the Prey Lang area. Some of our resin tappers want to stop selling resin because it sells at a very cheap price,” she said.

Chou said the price of resin has fallen from 3,000 riel to 1,000 riel ($0.75 to $0.25) per kg.

“I don’t know how much this resin sales have declined, but this year we sold little and the price was even cheaper,” she said.

According to the Cambodia-Korea joint Tumring REDD+Project, in the first nine months of this year, the O’Daskor community in Kampong Thom, where Chou lives, had sold nearly five tonnes of resin. The community had bought 70 jerrycans of resin weighing 1,960kg from community members and stored them in a warehouse.

Tumring Redd+Project coordinator Choek Sovansam told The Post that community members had not only faced falling prices, but they are facing the threat of resin trees being illegally logged.

They also face threats from drought and flooding.

“The number of community members harvesting resin has declined with the trees because of logging. Other trees have run out of resin,” he said.

The Tumring REDD+ Project supports the harvesting of resin by O’Daskor community members. A shed was repaired to store resin and community members were provided with materials for storing resin and given investment capital.

He said the project has helped them look for resin markets and partner organisations. But with the market down many are returning to logging.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on Sunday the ministry will deploy forest rangers to work in cooperation with the community to protect against forest offences such as logging.

“We will work to ensure we protect these areas and community participation is essential given much of the illegal logging is done by locals. They do it and claimed outsiders did it. I want everyone to participate with honesty,” he said.

According to a Tumring REDD+ Project study, each family in the O’Daskor community has, on average, 600 resin trees. Clear resin currently sells for $15 per 30 litres and murky resin sells for $7.50 per 30 litres. On average, each family can generate an income of $50 to $100 a month from the resin year-round.

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