The Centre for Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN) – a joint development effort by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Royal University of Agriculture, Kansas State University in the US and the US government’s USAID development agency – inaugurated a new Agriculture Technology Park in Mondulkiri’s Sen Monorom district in order to promote research in the agriculture sector.

The launch event took place on January 26 and was presided over by agriculture minister Dith Tina and US ambassador to Cambodia W Patrick Murphy. Also in attendance were representatives from the ministry and both universities connected to the project as well as officials from USAID Cambodia.

A statement from the agriculture ministry said that the Agriculture Technology Park was established with the purpose of facilitating field studies by farmers and relevant stakeholders including the private sector. It will also be a place for research with a robust internship programme to provide training to Cambodia’s next generation of experts in the field.

The park is located in the compound of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The operations of the Agri-Tech Park aren’t fully up and running yet as the institution is still in the process of organising itself internally before setting out on its mission to provide a convenient place to serve the needs of agri-development in the Kingdom.

The US embassy in Phnom Penh said on January 26 that USAID had provided the funding for the preparation work on this new project. The park was established in cooperation with the “Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL)” located in the US at Kansas State University.

The park was established to promote new innovation in the private sector on agriculture research and training along with capacity building for state and private sector human resources in agriculture through cooperation and knowledge sharing, with a particular focus on food safety and nutrition.

“I am proud of the US support and the offers of land to establish this park to use for presenting innovative technology which will promote agriculture production, and finally upgrade the livelihoods of many farmers,” said Murphy.

The ambassador applauded the launch in a tweet late on January 26.

"I was pleased to launch the latest USAID Cambodia-funded Agriculture Technology Park, this one in Mondulkiri, with Agriculture Minister Dith Tina.

"Our partnerships with Cambodian and US academic institutions [like Kansas State University] support agriculture education, research and extension," he said.

Ngo Bunthan, Rector of Royal University of Agriculture, applauded the work done by CE-SAIN in transferring and expanding the Kingdom’s technology for the agriculture sector.

“We thank USAID for its financial support, as well as Kansas State University for their facilitation role. We also encourage relevant stakeholders to provide their integration, support and input for future projects,” he said.

Since 2017, CE SAIN has organized 28 agriculture technology expos in the Kingdom that have attracted thousands of visitors.