Experts from Cambodia and international organizations gathered Monday in Phnom Penh to discuss the current status of rice research and development and to evaluate the country’s challenges in Rice production and export.
The Cambodian Rice Research Forum was organized by Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Cambodia’s Agriculture Ministry with the support of the Australian government.
“The event created a discussion forum between international scientists with national scientists, development partners and various stakeholders to assess the situation of rice research and production through identification of key challenges facing the Cambodian rice industry and their common solutions to accelerate the country’s development of rice sector,” Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun said in his opening remarks.
He said Cambodia’s rice output is about 3.2 tons per hectare in Y 2011, still low compared to 5.3 tons in neighboring Vietnam, 3.5 tons in Laos.
“I am confident that the forum will find inputs to increase Rice production in the country,” he said.
The forum would offer an opportunity for various stakeholders to exchange views on achieving Cambodia’s goal of exporting at least 1-M tons of milled Rice in Y 2015.
Penny Richards, ambassador of Australia to Cambodia, said the forum was an important way of disseminating key findings from existing research as well as prioritizing future research necessary to support the Cambodian government’s goal of exporting 1-M tons of milled Rice per year by Y 2015.
Chan Sarun said the country produced some 8.8-M tons of Rice last year, and it has about 4-M tons of Rice available for exports this year.
In August 2010, the government adopted a Rice export promotion strategy, aiming at raising rice exports to 1-M tons by Y 2015. However backward post-harvesting technology and lack of capital prevented the country from raising its Rice exports.
Cambodia needs some US$350-M to invest in hi-tech post harvest technology and purchase paddy rice from farmers to achieve its target for Rice exports.
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