ERJ staff report (BC)
Phnom Penh - Visiting Cambodia's Ratanakkiri province, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday cajoled indigenous minority members to adopt new technology more readily amid a shift away from traditional ways of life, and extolled the benefits of rubber plantations over their rotational farming methods.
Hun Sen spoke to more than 500 mostly ethnic Tampoun minority members in the province's Andong Meas district. He also condemned an unnamed foreigner who, he said, had angered him by blaming the government's promotion of rubber plantations for the destruction of indigenous minority culture.
â€œDo you want to continue collecting vines and harvesting resin?â€ he asked before asked that those in his audience raise their hands if they owned a car, motorcycle or mechanical tiller.
Focusing on the rattan baskets that the minority members carry on their backs in Ratanakkiri, Hun Sen said that the traditional baskets and a modern lifestyle co-existed, and that the government's policies on agro-industry, particularly rubber, would ensure that Cambodia's ethnic minorities would advance socially and economically.
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