In Cambodia, Owning Land Gives Farmers the Promise of a More Stable Future

November 5, 2015

  • 90% of poor people in Cambodia live in rural areas. 66% of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood, but more than 10% are landless.
  • Since May 2008, the Land Allocation for Social Economic Development project (LASED) has been supporting the government to promote land access for poor landless families.
  • During the first round of land distribution under LASED, 250 families received land titles.

When the land titles were distributed, Khouy Thoeun spoke on behalf of other recipients: “Today we are so happy because our dreams came true.”

Thouen and other villagers in Srey Loeu Senchey Village in the Cham Kravien commune of Khmom province dreamt to someday own land that is properly titled to them. Poor and with no land on which to build a house or farm to grow crops, she is among the first 250 families who received land titles on September 7, 2015, through the World Bank-supported Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development project (LASED).

Each family received between 2-2.5 hectares of farm land and also with residential plot. Sizes of land allocated depend on the number of members in a family. Families also received livelihood support from the project, such as food, seeds for crops, and supplies to build their houses.

As part of the project, Thoeun and other villagers moved to the site over five years ago. Almost all of them grow cassava, corn, sesame, cashew nuts, among other crops. Thoeun now makes between 9 and 10 million Riel ($2,250-2,500) per year, improving her family’s life. 


Khouy Thoeun is among the villagers from Srey Loeu Senchey village that received a land title under the World Bank-supported Land Allocation for Social Economic Development project. 

Photo: Saroeun Bou

" Now we have enough food to eat and with our remaining cash, we can buy other things. It’s not that we are so rich but we have a much better life. We have land, we have a house, and now we possess the land title. The land title is my life. "

Khouy Thoeun

Srey Loeu Senchey village

Like Thoeun, Chhun Saroeun, 54, and his wife are happy because they are confident that their land will not be taken away from them now that they possess a land title. They also see it as an asset that they can pass on to their children. “We often heard that our land might be taken away someday,” he says. “But now we are clear. This is our land and we own it.”   

Saroeun and his family of 14 grow multiple crops in their 2.5 hectare farm. He earns around 10 million Riel ($2,500) per year. With this land, he hopes that his family will have a much better future.

“This is your land title and it is a great asset for you, your children, and grandchildren,” Im Chumlim, Senior Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in Cambodia, told recipients of the titles. “I visited families and saw them grow good crops. Your land is fertile. Use it productively.”

These 250 families are just the first recipients of land title distribution for 14 sites under the LASED project. More families will receive land titles through the program.