The first Ibis Rice products from Stung Treng province have been produced and sold in markets to help conserve the critically endangered giant ibis and its natural habitat in Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ibis Rice is a non-profit conservation project established by the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2009 to produce world-class organic jasmine rice.
The project sees all rice crops from farmers bought at a premium price higher than the market price if they follow conditions and standards of the project, which includes not expanding their fields into the sanctuary, and ceasing illegal hunting and logging.
According to a statement yesterday from Birdlife, an NGO partaking in the rice project, farmers in Siem Pang district’s Khek Svay village have successfully sold their rice crops to Ibis Rice.
“This is the first year for us that our Ibis Rice from Siem Pang has been produced and put on the market,” said Bou Vorsak, Birdlife’s country manager. “The farmers here have obeyed the conditions and laws properly.”
Mr Vorsak said that the project also aims to increase household incomes, and reduce food insecurity for farmers because when they join the project, they also revive training course to help them increase their yields.
Mr Vorsak added that his NGO is working with three more villages near the sanctuary, and has plans to work with all villages that neighbour it soon.
Ibis Rice CEO Nicholas Spencer said that consumers of Ibis Rice are in Cambodia and European countries.
He said the rice project is helping conserve more than 50 endangered animal species, and is increasing the incomes of over 1,000 families.
Thun Kork, a villager who participated in the project in Siem Pang district, said the project is good for his community.
“Ibis Rice encourages me and other villagers to protect endangered wildlife and stop using chemical fertilizers,” he said. “Most importantly, it helps improve our local livelihoods because we can sell our rice to the Ibis Rice project at a premium price.”