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Pure seed initiative providing boost for rice harvests

Agriculture ministry secretary of state Yang Saing Koma inspects a Phka Rumduol rice field in Pursat province’s Krakor district on November 5. YANG SAING KOMA FB

Student volunteers have been instructed to advise and assist farmers on selecting superior paddy rice stems for cultivation.

The move comes as industry experts stress the necessity of genetically pure seeds to satisfy export demands.

Yang Saing Koma, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, made the remarks during a November 5 visit to inspect Phka Rumduol rice fields ahead of the harvest, in Anlong Thnout commune of Pursat province’s Krakor district.

“During my visit … I underscored the significance of utilising pure seeds.

“Using these ensures farmers can harvest high-quality paddy rice which is not only easier to market but also commands a higher price.

“Such rice thrives better, offers greater yields and necessitates a smaller quantity of seed for planting,” he said.

He added that the involvement of growers was “crucial”.

“I counsel student volunteers to assist farmers in selecting robust and lengthy panicles of paddy rice to be retained as seeds.

“It is important to trim the upper cluster of stems, preserving only the longer stems for seeding.

“The involvement of [growers] is crucial in establishing a pure seed system, which will benefit both our farmers and the rice industry at large,” he said.

Lor Bunna, director of the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) – which operates under the ministry – highlighted that the drive towards the use of pure seeds is one of the key projects initiated by the ministry, aiming for widespread adoption by 2023.

He said his organisation has distributed over 20 tonnes of pure Phka Rumduol paddy seeds.

“In the past, we have had a problem where, after farmers produce paddy rice, the price drops. Millers claim that the fall in price is due to poor quality.

“Therefore, to address this issue, agriculture minister Dith Tina has implemented a policy encouraging farmers to use pure seeds.

“This will enable them to produce high-quality feed paddy rice, which can be sold to rice millers at a reasonable price under contract,” Bunna said.

He explained that currently, many farmers cultivate the IR and OM varieties, primarily for neighbouring markets, which offer unpredictable demand.

To stabilise this, the ministry is encouraging a shift back to growing premium paddy rice, particularly the Champey Sar 70 (CPS 70) variety. This new, lighter rice variety, derived from premium Phka Rumduol, is tailored to meet market demands.

Yourng Pakk, a rice expert and CEO of Agribee (Cambodia) Plc, said it is beneficial for the ministry to promote the use of pure seeds.

He said that historically, Phka Rumduol paddy varieties have faced challenges in the international market due to issues distinguishing between pure and impure strains.

He noted that while the use of pure seeds might raise expenses, it is necessary since their previously used seeds were not pure.

“As a solution, communities that receive pure seeds from the ministry should produce and resell these seeds to farmers at a lower price than currently available.

“This would enable farmers to cultivate high-quality paddy rice. Conversely, millers ought to purchase paddy rice at a premium from those farmers who produce [a superior product],” he said.

According to Saing Koma, the country has concluded the harvest of 750,000ha of light rain-fed paddy rice, yielding 3 million tonnes. The next significant harvest of rainy season paddy rice is scheduled for November and December 2023, with an anticipated 2.1 million hectares to be harvested.

The Kingdom expects to harvest a total of 9.3 million tonnes of rainy season paddy rice in 2023, up by about 0.6 million from last year’s 8.7 million, as per the ministry. QR Code

Published Date: November 7, 2023

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