A new partnership between the International Financial Corporation, London-based Mars Food and local company Battambang Rice Investment Co., Ltd, seeks to boost sustainable farming practices in the Kingdom.
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Under the agreement, Battambang Rice Investment will supply milled rice to Mars Food, while the three entities will work together to aid farmers in the adoption of sustainable agricultural standards and practices, as well as advanced agricultural technology.
The project further seeks to improve farmers’ adoption of climate smart agriculture including planting seeds, technologies, and services. It will build a sustainable rice supply chain, adopt better pesticide and fertilizer practices, and employ better post-harvest methods.
According to the official press release, the project is expected to result in a 20 percent increase in yield and a 25 percent increase in income by 2025. Over the next three years, about 9,000 smallholder farmers will benefit from exposure to sustainable farming practices, climate smart agriculture technologies and financial literacy training disseminated by the project.
Luc Beerens, global sustainable sourcing director at Mars Food, said initiatives like this that seek to advance sustainability in Cambodia’s rice sector, particularly among smallholder farmers, will help make the country’s rice more attractive to international rice buyers like his company.
“This partnership with IFC, and Mars’ commitment to sustainable sourcing, is a key part of Mars’ ‘Sustainable in a Generation Plan.’ We strive for all of our high-quality rice to be sourced from farmers working toward the Sustainable Rice Platform standard. IFC’s global supply chain expertise make them a natural partner for us,” said Mr Beerens.
Kyle Kelhofer, IFC’s country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, said the aim of the agreement is to integrate small farmers and SMEs into a more effective rice value chain by providing them with better access to improved inputs, technology, knowledge and markets, better firm linkages and training.
“Building on our earlier support to Cambodia’s rice sector, this project will further help the industry achieve its full potential by boosting its export of traceable, sustainable, and high-quality rice products,” said Mr Kelhofer.
Battambang Rice Investment is one of the biggest rice millers in the country, while Mars Food owns one of the world’s largest rice brands, Uncle Ben’s.