The Ministry of Environment and wild life conservation partners are initiating a so-called Crane Rice Field to preserve the crane, one of world’s most threatened birds, in Cambodia.

During his site visit to the crane rice fields at Anlung Pring protected area in Kampong Trach district, Kampot province yesterday, H.E. Neth Pheaktra, Secretary of State and Spokesperson at the Ministry of Environment appreciated the initiative and was optimistic that it will not only help preserve the bird, but also promote local livelihood.

A specific rice species eaten by the crane is grown at the fields rented from the local farmers who themselves do the farming and will also benefit from sale of half of their crops, while the remaining half will be kept to feed the crane and the next harvest season.

According to Mr. Bou Vorsak, acting Executive Director of NatureLife Cambodia, so far about 17 hectares of rice field have been rented for ten years and 16 local farmer households have been engaged in the initiative.

If succeeded, the project executed by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with NatureLife Cambodia and BirdLife International through the support from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Netherlands will be scaled up.

Calling on active participation among the local – a key to the success of the initiative – H.E. Neth Pheaktra stressed that his ministry will work with concerned stakeholders to identify broader markets for the rice produced.

The rice specie grown is unique in the sense that it is completely organic and it was grown to save cranes that have been included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, he continued.

IUCN Land Programme Coordinator Mr. Marc Hoogeslag said that to address the overuse of natural resource, it requires a balance between the needs of humans and animals. So, the Crane Rice Field project is a good example of the effort.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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