Civil society organisations, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and local authorities, yesterday launched a food safety campaign in Svay Rieng province.
The campaign is set to encourage organic farming and reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides in foods that are harmful to the health of consumers.
Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum, said the government has been working hard to create laws to ban pesticide use on agricultural products to improve the welfare of people.
However, Mr Vannara added that Cambodia has yet to effectively monitor and limit the use of pesticides or chemicals on agricultural products, which can cause health problems for both farmers and consumers.
“The use of pesticides and chemicals at high levels will affect the health of the people, farmers, environment, and biodiversity,” he said.
Mr Vannara called on farmers to produce organic crops and reduce the use of chemicals by using natural pesticides instead.
Thach Rotana, director of Svay Rieng provincial agriculture department, said the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the provincial department, will be educating farmers about the benefits of reducing the use of chemicals throughout the campaign.
Farmers will learn techniques for growing crops using natural fertilizer to ensure the welfare of citizens, he said.
Mr Rotana added that border authorities will be tasked with preventing the import of illegal agricultural products from neighbouring countries, especially vegetables that may contain harmful chemicals.
“The people must do their part and grow safe, organic vegetables,” he said. “We must all work together so we can grow vegetables to support the provincial capital and the markets in the province which will reduce the import of vegetables from abroad.”
Vorn Vinnara, deputy director of Svay Rieng provincial health department, said consuming imported vegetables grown with the use of chemicals can lead to nausea, vomiting and bloating.
“We have to keep farming clean, store our vegetables and meat properly, and we have to eat organic vegetables or food that do not contain chemicals,” he said.