Behind the sugar rush - one farmer's story

Posted by John Kentish UK Campaign Project Manager

8th Oct 2013

In Sre Ambel District in Cambodia, 200 families are fighting for land they were violently evicted from to make way for a sugar plantation. The plantation supplies companies which manufacture and bottle products for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Here, Mon Yorm (pictured above right) tells her story.

Mon Yorm was kicked off her land to make way for a sugar plantation in south west Cambodia. She used to grow cashews, mango, vegetables and corn so she could earn a basic income and feed her children. But the life she knew has been destroyed.

"There were bulldozers clearing the land. We tried to stop them, but there were police with guns."

"I will fight for my land until I die."

The company involved offered Mon Yorn a pitiful amount of compensation - just $35 per hectare. She estimates that it was really worth "around $5,000 per hectare, including the crops".

It's left her with no way to provide for her family. She can't buy food. She can't afford to send her children to school. She can't pay her medical bills, even though she has a lung condition. She's borrowed money from banks and other villagers just to get by.

"I'm worried because I owe a lot of money. I used to have ten buffalo and five cows but over time I sold them all to pay bills. Before, we lived happily here. But after the company came and took our land, we got poor."

Despite her desperate situation, Mon Yorm is determined to fight back. "There are children here who are very young. Land is very important for them. I will continue to fight for my land until I die. I'm fighting for the land for these young children and their future."

You can help protect farmers like Mon Yorm across the world. Tell Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods to join the fight for farmers' land rights.

Blog post written by John Kentish

UK Campaign Project Manager

More by John Kentish