The country’s main association of rice producers recently announced new limits on the use of the fungicide Tricyclazole – which came into effect late September – and which have had virtually no effect on the country’s rice exports, arguing awareness campaigns aimed at farmers have been highly effective.
Hun Lak, the vice-president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said the new directive regarding the use of Tricyclazole is already in effect and that stakeholders in the rice sector have done a good job of spreading the word among the nation’s farmers about the new limitations on the use of the chemical.
“It hasn’t been a problem to limit the use of the fungicide because we have educated farmers on the use of the chemical,” Mr Lak said.
“Anyway, it wasn’t a big issue because Cambodia was never too reliant on chemical fertilizers,” he added.
The European Union said in March that Cambodia must eradicate the use of the fungicide on its milled rice it exports to the European market. The new EU directive demands milled rice does not contain more than 0.01 milligram of the chemical per kilogram of grain.
Hean Vanhan, the director-general of the general directorate of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, told Khmer Times in October that efforts to increase awareness on the new limits on the use of Tricyclazole have been highly successful.
“The farmers now understood the ban, and as we are complying with EU regulations, we don’t face any problems in this regard,” Mr Vanhan said.
Meanwhile, according to Mr Lak, the EU has encouraged Cambodia to increase its exports of milled fragrant rice to the European market.
“Although exports of milled rice to the EU have remained almost unchanged for the first nine months of the year compared to last year, we hope that exports will accelerate by the end of the year and for the years to come,” Mr Lak said.
“The EU wants Cambodia to export fragrant rice because demand for this product is high and doesn’t compete with varieties grown locally in countries like Spain and Italy.”
As of September this year, Cambodia exported some 422,000 tonnes of milled rice to international markets, a 16.7 percent increase compared with the same period last year. Of this, 209,000 tonnes was shipped to the EU, nearly a 50 percent increase over the same period last year.