With the government beginning to use spatial information technology to boost agricultural yields, the Ministry of Agriculture announced recently the selection of a number of crops that will be planted as part of a new agricultural mapping project.
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According to government officials, by mid-March the project will yield results regarding the areas best suited to grow the chosen crops.
The selected crops are upland rice, floating rice, cashew, pepper, corn, mango, durian and carrots, which will be planted as soon as the areas that present the best conditions for growing them are selected.
Ho Puthea, director of horticulture and subsidiary crops at the General Directorate of Agriculture, told Khmer Times that the crops were chosen based on data supplied by software associated with the technology used for mapping the agricultural areas, which selects the products that grow well in certain areas.
He said with the use of this technology farmers will know what crops are the most profitable for their land.
“The technology will provide guidance to farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector,” he said. “They will know what crops adapt best to their land, and the government will build the infrastructure needed to support them.”
Koy Ra, director of the department of land resources management at the General Directorate of Agriculture, said land use mapping will help farmers connect with investors, as well as reduce the amount of pesticide and fertilizers used.
Chan Sophal, director of the Center of Policy Studies, told Khmer Times that planting the right crop for the existing natural conditions will help increase production and enhance competitiveness in the international market.
However, Mr Sophal said it may be difficult to convince farmers to change crops. “Changing farmers’ minds will be hard. If they want to grow mango, but we tell them they should be growing cassava, they might not listen to us,” he said.
Earlier this month, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea Land and Geospatial InformatiX Corporation to boost local agricultural production through land use mapping.
The agreement will enable the application of advanced information and communication technology in agriculture, particularly precision agricultural mapping.
Korea Land and Geospatial InformatiX Corporation (also known as LX Corporation) is a company that specialises in the procurement and management of spatial information.