The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), an agricultural enterprise, exported 114 tonnes of organic jasmine rice to US in the first quarter of this year, a 30 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.
A representative of CEDAC said that this is a good sign and encouraging for farmers of organic rice.
“We aim to transform farmers into organic rice farm entrepreneurs or commercial organic fragrant rice producers,” CEDAC president Yang Saing Koma said. “We can generate extra funds for social development through the business with our international partners.”
During the first three months, CEDAC exported 59 tonnes of organic jasmine brown rice and 55 tonnes organic jasmine white rice to the US.
As a result, hundreds of organic rice producers in Takeo, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu provinces have benefited, a press release said.
Experts within the sector say Cambodia has the potential to become an important organic rice producing country in the region.
Srey Chanthy, an independent agricultural analyst, told the Post yesterday that compared with most Asian countries, Cambodian farmers use relatively few chemicals on their fields.
On average, Cambodian farmers apply just 23 kilograms of chemical fertiliser per hectare with application rates especially low in the wet season (mid-May to early October), he said.
Nevertheless, he said if Cambodia really wants to develop its organic rice production, it would have to put in place a new institutional framework to ensure quality and grade standards to build trust from international buyers.
“Boosting organic rice exports is easier said than done,” said Srey Chanthy. “We need to be patient and overcome all obstacles because there is so much potential benefit.”
CEDAC has been actively encouraging farmers to adopt organic techniques.
By 2022, CEDAC plans to support up to 100,000 farmers, producing more than 400,000 tonnes a year of organic fragrant paddy to supply the markets.