The Ministry of Environment is set to host the third National Kesor Kol Forum in March to promote the conservation of the Kingdom’s wild orchid varieties.

Ministry secretary of state Neth Pheaktra brought this up during a visit to the Kesor Kol Sok An Phnom Kulen Research and Conservation Centre at the foot of Kulen Mountain in Srah Khvav village, Tbeng commune, Banteay Srei district, Siem Reap province. The centre is home to the largest collection of Kesor Kol in Cambodia.

The forum will showcase Kesor Kol and bring together flower businesspeople and enthusiasts, ministry officials, and representatives of other institutions, he said.

The centre serves as a breeding ground “to supply more local demand, as more flowers are being imported”, Pheaktra said, stressing that more awareness, planning and actions are needed to preserve the Cambodian orchids.

“The purpose of the forum is to raise awareness and cultivate people's love for the natural resources that we have, [and to] draw public attention to stakeholders’ concerns that we may lose some of our orchid types, due to recent patterns of wildlife overexploitation,” he said.

Pheaktra shared that around 500 types of Kesor Kol have been collected by officials from a number of provinces, including Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Koh Kong, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap.

The ministry has told government-employed park rangers and other officials involved with protected areas to ensure that they are effectively managed, and to instruct locals not to overexploit their natural resources.