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New rice variety in the spotlight

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Japonica rice is new in Cambodia but already very popular in China. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia and China will sign an agreement in the near future to support research on growing a new variety of rice in the kingdom, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).

The proposed MoU, which is being negotiated by MAFF and its Chinese counterpart, will lay down the rules for cooperation between both nations in conducting studies on the rice variety known as oryza sativa japonica.

The ultimate goal is to grow the crop in the kingdom and export it to China, where demand for the rice variety is huge.

“The agreement will help us conduct the research needed to grow japonica rice in Cambodia,” said Hean Vanhan, director general of MAFF’s general directorate of agriculture.

Mr Vanhan added that, while being a new plant in the kingdom, japonica rice is very popular in Northern China.

“We now only supply the south of the country. This agreement is an important step forward in helping us expand our exports to the north of China as well,” he said.

The main markets for japonica rice are China, South Korea, Japan and the European Union, explained Mr Vanhan, who also added that sending the commodity to the EU is unlikely as Italy is already a producer of that particular variety.

The MoU will be signed in the next few weeks, said Mr Vanhan, who failed to provide a more specific date.

Demand for Japonica rice accounts for 20 percent of the total global demand for rice. Because of its high quality, Japonica rice is often sold at a high price.

Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said his company was also conducting field trials of growing Japonica rice.

“It will take time to finalise the results,” he said, without going into the details.

He said there were also a few other rice producers in Takeo and Prey Veng provinces conducting field trials.

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