Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina instructed the General Department of Agriculture, the General Department of Animal Health and Production and the Department of Agro-Industry to upgrade their laboratory facilities.

The recommendation came during a meeting to review the final draft of the ministry’s Strategic Plan for Laboratory Upgrading (SPLU 2030) and an investment plan under the Agricultural Value Chain Competitiveness and Safety Enhancement Project (ACSEP).

According to Tina, the planned laboratory upgrades will support the three specialised units’ efforts to improve the standard of export goods.

“[Tina] instructed university laboratories to continue their research work and reiterated the importance of them communicating with government labs. He also suggested that a nationwide inventory of laboratory equipment be taken, prior to the purchase of new equipment,” said the ministry in a social media post.

According to the ministry, ACSEP has received $110.06 million in co-financing from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), French development agency AFD, ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF), Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) and the government for investment in four laboratories.

The agriculture general department will upgrade two labs, while the general department of animal health and production and the agro-industry department will each invest in one. The investment will allow each lab to achieve the recognition of the International Organisation for Standardisation ISO17025.

The ministry is committed to working with stakeholders and donors to upgrade the laboratories, said its spokeswoman Im Rachna.

“We are still in the first phases of the plan, and many more decisions remain to be made, but the work is of crucial importance. [Tina] has visited the laboratories in question, and observed that they do not meet international standards,” she told The Post .

“He has made it a key tenet of future development of the agriculture segment that the labs must meet international standards. Ultimately, he would like to see common laboratories that gather human resources as well as standardised equipment, in order to improve efficiency,” she added.