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May 2024

Key rice sector initiatives launched

A representative from one of the 25 agricultural cooperatives receive rice transplanting machinery and nursing trays from the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) on February 27. CRF

The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) – in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Cambodian Agriculture Cooperative Corporation (CACC) – has announced the launch of three important programmes to further strengthen supply and value chains in the rice sector. 

The initiatives implemented on February 27 include the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) in Cambodia, the Paddy Trading Platform app (CRF Rice) and the handover of rice transplanters from the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) to the rice farming community. 

Song Saran, president of the CRF – the country’s apex rice industry body – stated that the

SRP in Cambodia is the first branch in ASEAN, where each country has developing frameworks in line with the basic principles of the Global Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP Global). 

He said the official launch of the CRF Rice app marks the initial phase of cooperation between the Water Resource Management and Agro-Ecological Transition in Cambodia (WAT4CAM) and the CRF, facilitated by EU assistance through French development agency AFD. The App connects farmer organisations to private sector buyers.

Saran added that rice transplanters and seed equipment for agricultural communities from TIKA will greatly ease the workload for farmers.

“Each programme is crucial for the rice sector in Cambodia, particularly in terms of strengthening the supply chain and value chain to enhance the living standards and economy of farmers, national food security and the export of rice to international markets,” he said.

Ngin Chhay, head of the General Department of Agriculture, noted that the SRP has grown significantly over nearly a decade. 

He said there is now a consensus on organising and leading the promotion of the programme by establishing a branch of SRP Global in Cambodia, to be co-chaired by the general department and the rice federation.

“The emergence of the SRP in Cambodia is a result of a tripartite partnership involving the government [agriculture general department], the private sector [CRF] and civil society organisations [CSOs], as well as development partners such as the Wildlife Conservation Society [WCS] Cambodia, Swisscontact and the French Agricultural Reseach Centre for International Development (CIRAD),” stated Chhay.

“These entities have contributed to the programme’s development. Presently, Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III is aiding the CRF in promoting the rice market, adhering to the standards of the SRP,” he added.

Chan Pich, general manager of Signatures of Asia (SOA), noted that the implementation of these initiatives would yield additional benefits for the country’s rice industry.

“For me, the SRP appears relatively new in the international arena, but this standard, supported by the UN, is beneficial in addressing climate change, food safety and environmental concerns,” he said.

Ly Thoeut, director of the Cambodia Kdei Songkhoem Kasikor Union of Agriculture Cooperative in Battambang province’s Banan district, mentioned that as a community striving to produce sustainable rice since 2019, they have committed three rice mills to the SRP. 

“This year, we are prepared to continue with the SRP because this standard of rice yields higher production and is more profitable for farmers. However, farmers need to exercise caution,” she said.

Regarding the CRF Rice app, she noted that it is still new to her and other community members, and additional training from the federation would be necessary.

According to Saran, sustainable rice exports to international markets, particularly the European market, are set to commence this year. 

He said this follows the federation’s communication of the launch of the SRP in Cambodia to SRP Global. The initiative will enable Cambodia’s SRP rice to be sold directly in those markets without going through SRP Global, thereby receiving a higher added value. Exports are expected to start in April or May. QR Code

Published Date: March 1, 2024

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