The Cycle of Rice

For centuries rice was a staple food in Cambodia and most of the social and religious activities of its citizens were shaped by the growing of rice which itself is conditioned yearly by the meteorological pattern of a dry and a rainy season. Knowledge about rice is still deeply entrenched with a majority of the population in the Cambodian countryside. The extremely rapid growth of the economy since the final surrender of the Khmer Rouge in 1998 brings about radical changes in one of the core certainties the Cambodians have relied upon for centuries. Growing rice alone is not sufficient anymore to feed a family. The younger generation is lured to the steadier income of factories or construction sites in or near the cities. The demography of the villages is changing. Only the middle-aged or elderly men and women remain to do the hard work in the rice fields, wondering who they will transmit their knowledge to.

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