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Agri minister urges co-op in rice sector

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Agriculture minister Dith Tina visits farmers in Kampong Chhnang province’s Cholkiri district on December 20. YANG SAING KOMA VIA FB

Agri minister urges co-op in rice sector

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina encouraged cooperation between the seed producers, rice farmers and rice mills, believing that forming an effective structure between them would reduce costs while farmers’ resilience could be strengthened.

Tina and his delegation visited Kampong Os Ponleu Chan agricultural community in Kampong Os commune of Kampong Chhnang province’s Cholkiri district last week.

Ministry secretary of state Yang Saing Koma said the delegation had visited the agricultural community to review the current levels of cooperation between the seed producers, rice farmers and rice mills.

He said the ministry’s main priorities were making sure that the rice seed producers received seeds that had been identified as high quality by the ministry, and ensuring that farmers were obtaining fair compensation when signing sales contracts with rice mills.

“We think we can improve both the domestic and export markets if we can make sure all three groups are working closely together,” he told The Post.

According to Saing Koma, Tina sought to make certain that farmers were receiving quality seeds as well as training and advice on how to reduce their production costs. He also spoke with three rice mills to discuss their market contracts.

Ministry spokeswoman Im Rachana said the mission aimed to inspect the high-quality, high-yield rice strains that were being prepared ahead of the coming rice season.

While in Kampong Chhnang, Tina said he intended to reform and modernise the agricultural sector by promoting the use of machinery and quality rice seeds to reduce farmers’ costs and strengthen their resilience. More effective supply chains would also contribute to these goals.

Provincial agriculture department director Ngin Hun said the minister had visited the rice seed production community, where he advised farmers to form cooperatives so they could negotiate better prices in their purchase contracts.

Hun said the community and three mills had agreed to sign contracts on the purchase of the rice production of 100ha of land. The average yield per hectare was about five tonnes in each of the two annual harvests, he added.

“[Tina] emphasised the need for producers and purchasers to be honest with each other and negotiate in good faith,” he said.

This year the province had harvested about 90,000ha of the 120,000ha of rainy-season rice it had planned and just 20 per cent of the planned 37,000ha of dry-season rice, he said, noting that some farmers had yet to start planting as floodwaters had only just receded.


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