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Exhibition displays chemical-free crops

Farmers gather in Kampong Tralach district, Kampong Chhnang province, Monday to show off produce and

boost awareness of naturally produced crops in latest event organised by agricultural organisation CEDAC

NEARLY 1,000 farmers from Kampong Chhnang province gathered on Monday to exhibit their "natural method" agricultural products during an exhibition aimed at promoting crops grown without the use of chemicals.

Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Centre for Agricultural Studies and Development (CEDAC), said the exhibition in Kampong Tralach district, Kampong Chhnang province, gave farmers a chance to show off their naturally farmed products and helped other farmers become more aware of so-called non-chemical crops.

"We support this exhibition because we want to reduce the use of chemical substances in ... crops to avoid food poisoning and in order to protect our health and create opportunities for trade partnerships so that farmers can have certain markets for their products," Yang Saing Koma said.

"We hope that farmers will come together to help make and trade products for markets for the future," he added.

Dozens of vegetables and other agricultural products were shown at this year's first exhibition. Last year, CEDAC supported six natural farm product exhibitions, one in Kampong Chhnang and the others in Takeo province.

So far our farmers have already passed the subsistence farming period.

Ith Nody, under secretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said on Monday after touring the exhibition that this was a promising step in encouraging Cambodian farmers to adapt to growing demands, both nationally and internationally.

"So far our farmers have already passed the subsistence farming period and are heading towards the production of safe and healthy food to meet market demands," Ith Nody said.

"We support the production of agricultural products without using chemical substances, and we are encouraging farmers to do more with their jobs in order to ensure food security for our country and to increase exports," Ith Nody said.

According to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, farmers throughout Cambodia have produced 259,610 tonnes of vegetables from a total land area of 47,781 hectares in the 2008-09 farming year.  

Touch Savy, a farmer from Chrei commune, Kampong Chhnang province, said the exhibition would help create market opportunities for her products and hoped more exhibitions would be organised.

"I want CEDAC to organise these types of exhibitions more often so that I can sell more products to consumers," she said.

Yang Saing Koma said in order to help farmers have more of a chance to show off their naturally produced crops and in order to encourage them to produce more, CEDAC will arrange another natural agricultural product exhibition in Takeo province's Tram Kak district later this month.  

"I think that subsistence farming is still a strong force which helps create jobs for farmers and helps ensure food security in Cambodia," he said.

"Our farmers' lifestyles will not improve if they do not develop more productive and safer ways of producing crops for different markets."



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