Cambodia will assist in carrying out a new international training programme on the direct-seeded rice (DSR) method of cultivation and resource conservation practices, in hopes for an agricultural development boost in the Kingdom.
The “Building Capacity in Promoting Economically and Environmentally Efficient Rice Production through Direct-seeded Rice” project was launched on June 4 at a virtual workshop organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
Among those present at the workshop were actors from Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines involved in project implementation, as well as representatives of the FAO in Cambodia and Myanmar, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and the University of Agriculture of Southern China.
Cambodia will act as a project implementation unit.
General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) head Ngin Chhay, who attended the workshop, said the FAO is one of Cambodia’s many development partners, providing technical support for agricultural development in the Kingdom.
He noted that the FAO frequently initiates and supports regional projects and provides opportunities for Cambodia to participate in them.
“Through this project, I strongly hope that all project implementation units will work more closely with the FAO and other key partners, including the IRRI and the University of Agriculture of South China, to achieve the project objectives set,” Chhay said.
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) president Song Saran welcomed and supported the Kingdom’s participation in the “new project of the government”, committing to do his share to improve rice production and ensure the quality needed to meet export standards.
He vowed that the CRF, “on behalf of the private sector”, will work with producers to build a cooperative partnership.
FAO Cambodia head of operations Antonio Schiavone told The Post on June 7 that the project is to strengthen the capacity of government entities, extension service providers and farmers to provide an enabling environment, good practices and cooperative mechanisation services.
This, he said, will promote the adoption of DSR for a transition towards an efficient, profitable and environmentally-friendly rice production system in beneficiary countries.
“Rice cultivation in many countries in this region increasingly relies on the use of DSR. For example, approximately 90 per cent of rice is direct-seeded via broadcasting. However, there are some challenges and rooms to be improved for better efficiency and higher profitability.
“The project will work closely with GDA, IRRI and private sectors in Cambodia to develop enabling policy through baseline analysis and consultation with different stakeholders; to conduct field demonstration and pilots on mechanised direct-seeded rice through cooperative mechanisation service provision; and to develop good practices and standard operation procedures of DSR to improve efficiency and profitability, and raise awareness through workshops and field exhibitions,” he said.
The project commenced in October and is anticipated to terminate in February 2023, he added.