Animal husbandry has been an essential part of Cambodian economic life, but a part that farmers have carried on mostly as a sideline. Traditionally, draft animals--water buffalo and oxen-- have played a crucial role in the preparation of rice fields for cultivation. In 1979 the decreasing number of draft animals hampered agricultural expansion. In 1967 there were 1.2 million head of draft animals; in 1979 there were only 768,000.
In 1987 Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Armed Forces, the Vietnamese army newspaper) reported a considerable growth in the raising of draft animals in Cambodia. Between 1979 and 1987, the number of cattle and water buffalo tripled, raising the total to 2.2 million head in 1987. In the same year, there were 1.3 million hogs and 10 million domestic fowl.
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