First field visit to Cambodia

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The scoping visit to Cambodia has gone exceedingly well (so far…). We’ve met with researchers, NGOs, and foreign and national governmental representatives, and had great response. It’s an amazing, dynamic place, with all the hallmarks of rapid development. Society and the environment in the context of wealth creation, and my sustainable development subject ringing in my ears.

The farms are incredibly small here, which – we’re told – is the basis for poor yields and livelihoods. I’m not sure I accept this, as farming is presently a poor return on labour relative to the garment industry, and farmers seem to be doing just enough to produce rice for their family’s subsistence. It’s odd listening to the agronomists complain that the farmers are ignorant or misguided when it looks (to an outsider) that the farmers are no longer in farming for money, so much as for growing their family’s rice; there seems to be a really social and cultural (i.e. Not rational economic) reason for current farming and livelihood decisions that are being missed or dismissed. I guess we’ll see.

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