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Mondulkiri ready for commercial potato farming

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon (centre) at a potato farm in Mondulkiri’s Sen Monorom. Ministry of Agriculture

Following the conclusion of a three-year study, Mondulkiri’s agricultural department yesterday said the province is suited for potato farming.

Song Kheang, director of Mondulkiri’s agriculture department, told Khmer Times yesterday that the commercial cultivation of potatoes in the province will begin around October after a study that began in 2016 on the crop yielded positive results.

He said the tests were conducted in the provincial town, Sen Monorom.

“In the beginning, only a small number of families will grow potatoes, but we hope to see that number increase gradually as the crop has great potential in Cambodia,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon previously said that the demand for potatoes in the Kingdom is growing every year as a result of the increasing number of tourists but also because locals have developed an appetite for the tuber.

“The potato market is growing remarkably,” the minister said.

Data from the Potato Research Centre showed that Cambodia imports more than 5,000 tonnes of the tuber every year from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Australia, and the United States.

The Potato Research Centre was launched in 2016 inside the Royal University of Agriculture to conduct research on the crop and determine what varieties are best suited to the Cambodian soil. The research is a collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, the Korean International Cooperation Agency, and the university.

Initial tests conducted by the centre suggest that Mondulkiri, Pursat and Battambang provinces have the best soil and climate conditions in the Kingdom for growing the vegetable.

The centre estimated that the soil in these three provinces can yield up to 17 to 20 tonnes per hectare, more than other locations in the country.

The first study looked at 10 potato varieties, including some varieties from Germany and others from across the region.

Tests in Pursat province, however, yielded largely negative results.

“We conducted tests a few years ago but found that the crop was not suitable for the province,” Lay Piseth, Pursat’s agricultural department director, told Khmer Times yesterday.

Mr Piseth noted that researchers are now working to identify new varieties that may adapt better to the province’s soil.

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