A centre to improve the standard and quality of agricultural products, especially vegetables, will be set up in Kandal province soon, the director of the provincial agriculture department said yesterday.
Bun Tounsimona said the centre, funded by Hayashida Japan Agriculture Co. Ltd, is scheduled to begin operations by the end of the year.
“The provincial agriculture department will oversee the centre’s operations and in the first stage farmers will be trained to grow organic vegetables via contract farming,” said Mr Tounsimona.
“The centre is like a clearing house for agricultural products from the province. At the centre they will be screened for quality and then labelled with a logo before being sent to the markets,” he added.
Mr Tounsimona said officers from his department are currently working with the Japanese Embassy and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to further develop the project.
CCC director-general Ngoun Meng Tech said that the Kampot centre was a pilot project.
“If all goes well, more centres will be established in other provinces to help farmers produce quality agricultural products,” said Mr Meng Tech.
“The centre in Takmao town in Kandal province is the first stage because the province is well known as an agricultural producing hub,” he added.
“All products from the centre will be for local markets. We will be exploring exports in the next step of the project.”
In June the Ministry of Agriculture and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched a scheme for small-scale farmers, known as Participatory Guarantee Systems, to addresses certification and marketing issues in Phnom Penh and Battambang, Kandal, Kampong Speu and Takeo provinces.
“It is a low-cost certification scheme adapted to local markets and short supply chains,” said Mayling Flores Rojas, FAO agriculture officer for Asia and the Pacific.
Khon Rithy, shop manager of Natural Village, said awareness of organic products was rising and there was a shift to consume more organic vegetables.