The Minister of Agriculture yesterday said the government’s programme to boost agricultural output is well on its way to achieve its goals, but called on farmers and firms to modernise and abide by international standards of agricultural and production practice to ensure the programme’s success.
Speaking at an agricultural fair in Prey Veng province yesterday, Minister Veng Sakhon said by 2019 Cambodia will be producing 60,000 tonnes of safe and quality vegetables and 150,000 tonnes of fragrant rice per year, as set out in the government’s ‘Boosting Food Projection 2017-2019’ programme.
With a budget of $20 million, the initiative seeks to scale up vegetable and rice production in eight key provinces: Kandal, Battambang, Pursat, Prey Veng, Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap.
To achieve the programme’s ambitious goals, however, Mr Sakhon said farmers and producers need to follow a set of guidelines issued by the government.
“First, farming operations need to be modernised by introducing advanced techniques such as drip irrigation systems,” he said, adding that farmers need to strive to abide by Good Agricultural Practice principles and urging firms to implement contract farming schemes.
“Secondly production lines need to be upgraded, and producers need to consider improving packaging standards to increase the value of our products and make them more desirable abroad.”
He reminded his audience that the goal of the programme is to reduce Cambodia’s reliance on imported vegetables.
“We have started this project to boost production of fragrant rice and organic vegetables, reduce imports, and increase incomes for small farmers,” he said.
The minister added that the plan will transform the Cambodian agricultural sector into a modern, competitive and climate resilient industry.
Hean Vanhan, director general of the General Directorate of Agriculture, said the fair showed that local producers were benefiting from the programme.
“Based on my experience at the fair, I can see that the programme is helping to boost the quality of agricultural products, allowing farmers to gain access to new markets,” Mr Vanhan said.