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Hundreds of farmers join cassava contract farming scheme

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
A close-up of a cassava plant taken in a local farm. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Ten agricultural communities in three provinces will now produce organic cassava that will be sold at a higher value than the market price, giving hundreds of farmers a chance to earn a better living.

The communities – located in Preah Vihear, Kratie and Kampong Thom – have entered contract farming schemes with Amru Rice.

Song Saran, Amru Rice’s CEO, said a total of 700 farmers, cultivating a combined 2,000 hectares of land, will now benefit from selling their produce at a price 20 percent higher than that of the market.

“Through this contract, we give them cassava seeds and we train them on how to grow organic cassava, as well as maintaining the soil and monitoring diseases,” he said.

“We are also working with poor farmers who received social land concessions from the government. So far, we have two such agricultural communities working with us.

“We want them to understand how contract farming works and how to get their products to the market,” he said.

Poeung Pryda, director of Preah Vihear’s agricultural department, told Khmer Times that this will be the first time farmers in the province grow cassava for the Amru Group. He said farmers in the province have been working for years with the company growing organic rice.

He said the government plays the role of facilitator in the deal.

According to Mr Pryda, Preah Vihear has a total of 10,000 hectares of land used for cassava cultivation, involving at least 3,000 families.

“Last year, the price of conventional dry cassava ranged from 600 to 700 riel (about $0.17) per kilogram, while the price of fresh cassava was 300 riel (about $0.07) per kilogram in Preah Vihear.

“Now our farmers have the opportunity to grow organic cassava and sell it at much higher prices,” he said.

On July 10, the government launched a new strategy for the cassava industry aimed at making Cambodia a reliable exporter of cassava-based products.

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