The Cambodian Agriculture Cooperative Cooperation (CCAC) started operations at the end of last year, processing and collecting paddy from 27 partnering agricultural communities around the country to help them sell their products.
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Song Saran, founder of CCAC and CEO of Amru Rice, said the centre has been operational for only a few months after a successful set up stage in which they sought partnerships with local agricultural communities in the northern provinces, particularly Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Ratanakkiri, and Kampong Thom.
“The initial phase of the project was very successful. We managed to find 27 agricultural communities to work with,” he said.
“The next step is to expand beyond rice and into cassava and cashew,” he said, adding that they hope to work with 35 communities by the end of the year.
Located over 10 hectares of land in Kampong Thom province, the centre represents an investment of $3 million over a three-year period. It works with communities engaged in contract farming schemes.
“We want to help farmers. We want them to have markets for their products, so we want more agricultural communities to work with us,” Mr Saran said.
During the first phase of the project, $600,000 were invested to buy agricultural products to be stored in the centre before being distributed in the market. For the second phase, a total of $1 million will be allocated to the project, he said.
Funded by the European Union and local associations, CCAC can store up to 5,000 tonnes of produce. The centre now process and stores rice, but other products – including pepper, cashews, vegetables, and fruits – are expected to be added in the near future.
The Ministry of Agriculture continues to encourage the establishment of agricultural communities across the nation to enhance production, ensure markets, and stabilise prices.
In 2017, there were 880 agricultural communities in Cambodia working with nearly 89,500 farmers. Takeo had 100, while Battambang and Kampong Thom each had 77 and 55, respectively.