The General Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is implementing the Climate Resilience Rice Commercialization Sector Development Programme (Rice-SDP) in Kampong Thom, Battambang and Prey Veng provinces to promote the production and export of rice.

According to a May 29 statement, the programme will produce 1,800 tonnes of certified rice seed. The contracts were signed during a May 29 meeting. The programme receives additional funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“We have signed agreements to producing 970 tonnes of Phka Rumduol seed and 830 tonnes of Sen Kra’op 01 fragrant rice with four farms and 15 farming cooperatives in the three target provinces,” said Ngin Chhay, director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ General Directorate of Agriculture.

During the meeting, stakeholders discussed issues that may occur during the implementation of the agreement and mulled measures to strengthen seed production that would be acceptable to farmers, farming cooperatives and investors across the country.

Khun Saem, president of the Ba Phnom Meanchey Agricultural Cooperative in Prey Veng Province, raises some questions regarding the storage and packaging of the seed.

He said that due to the increasing demand for rice seed, the cooperative, which currently has more than 226 member households, expects to expand.

“We will encourage our new members to grow pure seed varieties, especially of Phka Romuol and Sen Kra’op 01,” he added.

“Regarding our request for packaging, we have raised the issue at the national level because we want our high quality products to be easily recognisable by consumers,” he continued.

He added that the cooperative’s seeds are not sold in Prey Veng province, but also in demand in Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Takeo, Svay Rieng, Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Banteay Meanchey and Kampong Chhnang.

The Rice-SDP is divided into two categories, programme loans and project loans. The programme loans will be supplied by the ADB, but must be implemented according to specific conditions imposed by the ADB, including new legislation and reforms.

Project loans will be borrowed directly from the project. The ADB’s financing of the programme is the result of requests to support the agricultural sector with loans that would support a balanced national budget.

The project is being implemented by four ministries – the agriculture ministry, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction – and the three provincial administrations.

It will target a total of 90 communes in 13 districts, and benefit 22,000 people directly 66,000 indirectly.