The agriculture ministry on August 1 signed a tripartite agreement with Korea National Open University (KNOU) and South Korea’s Orient Group on training and human resource development in agriculture to boost crop and livestock production capacity.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed at the Seoul-based university by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia Veng Sakhon, KNOU president Ko Songhwan and Orient Group boss Jang Jae-jin, the KNOU Weekly confirmed, noting that Orient Group has been working with the ministry’s Forestry Administration since 2012.

On the occasion, “in-depth and comprehensive” discussions were held on human resource development through agricultural skills training for officials, students, teachers and farmers, said a statement posted on Sakhon’s official Facebook page.

The MoU seeks to develop human resources in the agricultural sector to raise production capacities and output, and boost productivity while ensuring adequate safety and quality standards, as well as to strengthen and expand production chains, value-added and competitiveness on international markets, it added.

Sakhon said in the statement that the visit was motivated by Cambodia’s need for more human resource development in food production, although he highlighted the Kingdom’s self-sufficiency, stable food security situation and status as a food exporter.

To better realise the potential of Cambodia’s agricultural production, the ministry strives to engage the private sector, development partners and cooperatives to promote development of the sector, and especially of a more highly skilled workforce, he added.

KNOU’s Ko said the MoU would establish cooperation that would not only promote education, but also reduce poverty and improve the financial situations of farming households.

He said the training would equip farmers, officials and teachers with the fundamentals of theoretical and practical learning, thereby spurring growth and development in the sector, according to the statement.

“I believe that this MoU will help South Korea and Cambodia to develop closer relations beyond just [KNOU], Orient Group and [the ministry]. I hope that today’s MoU will not end as a passing encounter, but develop into a deep relationship,” Ko said in the KNOU Weekly article.

Orient Group’s Jang added: “Education is the only way to overcome poverty and build oneself up. When I met [Sakhon] back in June, I heard about his struggles to liberate farmers from poverty. And the way to receive the most effective education at the lowest cost is precisely KNOU’s distance-learning programmes.

“I ardently hope that Cambodian farmers will gain access to the splendid educational opportunities offered by [KNOU], along with its training and platforms, and escape poverty,” KNOU Weekly quoted him as saying.

“Today is just the beginning.”

Cambodia exported 5,035,425.25 tonnes of agricultural products in the first half of 2022, marking an increase of 581,374.40 tonnes or 13.05 per cent from the 4,454,050 tonnes recorded in the same time last year, ministry figures show. With a total value in excess of $2.196 billion, based on exporters’ invoices, the exports went to 65 countries and territories.