Yang Saing Koma, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said volunteer students have been dispatched to rural areas to collaborate with local farmers in enhancing the quality of paddy rice varieties. The initiative aims to improve the competitiveness of the sector in Cambodia.
Koma revealed that the ministry initially planned to deploy 200 volunteers but has so far sent 180, with more to be recruited. They will help cultivators build a robust seed system.
“The goal is to generate pure, high-quality varieties that will boost the sector’s competitiveness,” he stated.
Koma added that the students are also responsible for connecting rice producers using pure seeds with rice millers for contract farming.
“This system ensures a supply chain that benefits both parties, particularly those producing high-quality exports,” he said.
Koma explained that the focus is on producing soft fragrant rice varieties, specifically Phkar Romduol and Sen Kra’op 01.
“The Kingdom’s rice sector stands to gain significantly from these two high-quality milled rice types,” he said.
To sustain this advantage, Koma emphasised the need to ensure a consistent supply of pure seeds for production and export.
“Millers must also have sufficient capital to purchase and process these varieties, especially Phka Romduol, which is harvested once a year in November,” he added.
Agriculture minister Dith Tina addressed students at the Royal University of Agriculture earlier this year, urging them to understand the intricacies of seed generation. Tina confirmed that the programme would benefit not only their future career prospects but also enhance local agricultural practices.
The minister said that the volunteers would contribute to more efficient and effective techniques in local communities, thereby paving the way for them to become future civil servants, company employees or entrepreneurs.