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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cambodia's export to EU reaches US$1.3b

Business Desk
Rasmei Kampuchea Daily


Cambodia's export to the EU market in 2011 reached over US$1.3 billion, increasing almost 40 per cent from 2010, according the EU ambassador to Cambodia.

"Overall, comparing the total value of exports from Cambodia to the EU in 2010 with 2011 data, an increase of 39.86 per cent can be reported. The EU is only second after US ($2,070,009,468 million, representing 45. per cent of total export of Cambodia) as destination of total Cambodian exports in 2011," Ambassador Jean-Fran├žois Cautain, Head of the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Cambodia told The Cambodia Herald in this week's interview.

He added most recent export figures for Cambodia (2011) show that the value of exports leaving Cambodia to the EU registered at slightly more than $1.3 billion, representing 28.7 per cent of Cambodia's total exports.

EU imports from Cambodia in 2011 highly concentrated in textiles and textile articles (78 per cent in 2011 compared to 64.8 per cent in 2010), footwear (9.5 per cent in 2011 against 24.8 per cent in 2010), other goods including vehicle equipment (about 7 per cent), and rice (0.5 per cent).

In the past few years, rice has been a promising export product in agriculture, especially since its coverage under Everything But Arms (the European preferential trade scheme that allows Cambodia-based firms to export sugar and other goods to the EU) since 1 September 2009, with exports to EU increasing exponentially from about $2 million in 2008 to $31.5 million in 2010. In 2011 the value of rice exported to the EU market reached $66 million, with an incredible 108.94 per cent increase in 2011 compared to the previous year.
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Extremely Rare Turtle is Released into the Wild

Southern River terrapin, fixed with a satellite transmitter, is set free to breed in the waters of Cambodia

Wildlife Conservation Society, Cambodian Fisheries Administration, and Wildlife Reserves Singapore will monitor turtle

Less than 200 adult individuals remain in the wild

Newswise — NEW YORK (January 18, 2012) – The Wildlife Conservation Society, in conjunction with the Cambodian Fisheries Administration and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, announced today the successful release of a Southern River terrapin (Batagur affinis) – one of the most endangered turtles on earth – into the Sre Ambel River in Cambodia.

The turtle was released on Monday, January 16th at a ceremony attended by officials, conservationists, and local people.

The female turtle, which weighs approximately 75 pounds (34 kilograms), is fixed with a satellite transmitter that will allow conservationists to track its whereabouts – the first-ever satellite monitoring study for this species.

Captured in the Sre Ambel River by local fishermen in April, 2011, the turtle is one of an estimated 200 adults remaining in the wilds of Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It was voluntarily turned it over to the WCS Cambodia turtle team instead of being sold into the black market trade where it would have been sent to food markets in China.

The population in the Sre Ambel River is estimated at less than ten nesting females. Thus, this individual is extremely important for maintaining genetic diversity of this species that has already suffered drastic population declines.
WCS believes the pop
ulation has an excellent chance of recovery as the coastal mangrove forests of Southeastern Cambodia are some of the largest and most pristine in Southeast Asia, spanning some 175 square miles (more than 45,000 hectares). These habitats are crucial to numerous aquatic and terrestrial animals and are vital nursery areas for marine fisheries.

Conservationists will monitor the turtle’s movements to see how it utilizes this region. Of particular interest is how the turtle navigates through commercial fishing grounds, as well as areas where it could be threatened by other factors such as habitat destruction by sand mining or conversion of mangrove forests into shrimp farming facilities.

WCS notes that numerous studies on similar long-lived species have shown that as little as a five percent increase in annual adult mortality can cause populations to go extinct.

“By reducing the adult mortality of the Southern River terrapin, even by fractions – as little as ten animals a year per population in this circumstance – we can have immediate and long-term positive impacts on the remaining wild populations of this critically endangered species” said Brian D. Horne of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Heng Sovannara, Deputy Director of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration’s Conservation Department, is extremely hopeful that the release will enhance efforts to conserve the species. “By identifying areas that are most utilized by the turtles, we can pinpoint our efforts to reduce the turtles being caught as fishery by-catch as well as targeted hunting,” he said.

Dr. Sonja Luz, Deputy Director of Conservation & Research for Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “This project will contribute greatly to a much brighter future for this critically endangered terrapin. Hopefully, more public awareness and education opportunities will arise from this and allow us to create better protection tools and a safer environment for these amazing reptiles.”

In 2000, a small population of Southern River Terrapins, Batagur affinis, was found in the Sre Ambel after many years of being considered locally extinct.

The turtle was once considered solely the property of the King of Cambodia, but has been decimated by overhunting over the past two decades.

Following the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot regime, the Cambodian people were left in severe poverty, and with the growing international demand for turtles in China for human consumption, literally thousands of turtles were captured and sent to China for much needed income by the country’s impoverished people.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the Flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: http://www.wcs.org/

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is the parent company of award-winning attractions Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari. WRS parks strive to be world-class leisure attractions, providing excellent exhibits of animals presented in their natural environment for the purpose of conservation, education and recreation. In the areas of conservation and research, WRS parks have undertaken multiple projects through collaborations with various organisations and institutions on the oriental pied hornbill, pangolin and orang utan. Highly popular with tourists and locals, Jurong Bird Park welcomed 900,000 visitors, the Night Safari, more than 1.1 million, and Singapore Zoo over 1.6 million visitors in 2010. More information can be found at http://www.wrs.com.sg/.
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4 Cambodians shot in land protest

PHNOM PENH - Private guards shot and wounded at least four people today during a land dispute in Cambodia, witnesses and a provincial official said.

Kratie province Gov. Kham Phoeun said he ordered police to investigate guards armed with AK-47 assault rifles who shot at about 100 villages who were trying to stop bulldozers from destroying their cassava plantation.

The number of protesters increased to about 300 after the shooting, and they also blocked the highway, demanding that the shooters be arrested, said Ms Neth Ratana, a wounded protester interviewed by telephone.

Officials from the landholding company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Such land disputes are not unusual in Cambodia, and have provoked protests partly because of the perception that officials are making corrupt deals at the expense of poor people.

Mr Am Sam Ath of the human rights group Licadho said nearly 20,000 people were victimised by land disputes last year, and that the issue is worsening as land prices rise.

"I am afraid that this dispute could get bigger from day to day and may affect the country's stability if the government doesn't take urgent action to solve the problem," he said.

Ms Neth Ratana, 23, said about 10 security guards standing on trucks began shooting at protesters when they surrounded the excavating equipment and forced the drivers to stop clearing the land.

She said she was slightly wounded on her knee, and that four other protesters were wounded badly enough to be hospitalised.
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