Amru, Cambodia’s leading rice miller and exporter, on Friday signed a deal with Thai Starch Company to supply 8,000 tonnes of fresh organic tapioca and the first exports will be in early 2019.
Song Saran, Amru’s CEO, told Khmer Times that after signing the deal with the Thai company, Amru will cooperate with more than 1,500 smallholder farmers in Kampong Thom and Oddar Meanchey within three years with a project to plant and supply fresh organic cassava.
He said they will supply about 8,000 tonnes of organic cassava by the end of 2018 and will increase to 20,000 and 40,000 tonnes by 2020.
Amru, together with its Thai partner and the German development agency GIZ, will conduct training for farmers on how to grow the organic cassava. He added that during next year, the company will conduct training and planting courses, said Mr Saran.
“So far we need to collect the baseline and do soil tests. We want farmers to get more yield by providing technical and innovative solution for farmers,” he added.
Mr Saran said the company will work with poor farmers who are recipients of social land concessions from the government. He said Amru and GIZ will set up the whole process of training and issuing the certification to farmers to ensure they can be sustainable in growing organic cassava.
He added that the farming of organic cassava will be done in Kampong Thom and the processing of the organic cassava will be in Oddar Meanchey province once the processing factory – set up with investment from the Thai partner – will be finished by 2019.
“We will make the contracts with all the famers and will discuss the price with farmers in January before planting. So far we need to collect the baseline and do soil tests and we will try to increase the supply to 20,000 tonnes and 40,000 tonnes by 2020,” he added.
Mr Saran said both parties had chosen organic cassava because it stood up against competition from neighbouring countries and could fetch a high price for farmers.
However, they would also purchase non-organic cassava from farmers to stabilise the cassava price.
Oddar Meanchey provincial agriculture department director Sot Si Sokheang told Khmer Times in July that he was waiting for the processing factory to be set up in his province.
He said that the cassava cultivated areas in his province amounted to 60,000 hectares which produced on average 20 tonnes per hectare.
“We want processing and our farmers will support their product going to the factory,” Mr Sokheang said. “I totally support having the processing factory in my province.”
Last year, the total land under cassava cultivation was 684,070 hectares, up 24 percent year on year, from 626,180 hectares and 521,459 hectares in 2015 and 2014 respectively, according to an Agriculture Ministry report.
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