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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The rise of modern farming

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Saing Ngorn, CEO of RMA Group Cambodia, talks to the Post at his office earlier this year. Vireak Mai

The rise of modern farming

About 80 per cent of Cambodians work in agriculture. Many farmers continue to use traditional agricultural equipment, such as Ox-drawn ploughs, when working on the land. But that is slowly changing as farmers turn to more modern machinery to prepare and harvest their fields. RMA Cambodia is the Kingdom’s official distributor of American agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere, and the Post’s Sok Chan sat down with RMA CEO Saing Ngorn, this week to talk about the increasing demand for modern agricultural equipment in Cambodia.

Tell us about how John Deere products came to Cambodia?

As a result of increased demand of modern agricultural products, John Deere brought tractors and harvesters into the Cambodian market in 2004.

From day to day the demand of agricultural equipment, such as tractors and harvesters, is increasing.

Many Cambodian people choose to start using tractors instead of their traditional agriculture equipment because tractors are more efficient and save time.

John Deere tractors and harvesters are popular for investors that harvest sugar cane, cassava, and corn.

Now we have sold many units of sugarcane harvesters to investors.

Investors in agro-industry also need this equipment.

Most of them think that the modern agricultural products could save time, efficiency, and high productivity.

John Deere’s tractor ability can plough a rice paddy for 2 to 3 hours per hectare, and harvest the sugar cane for only 2 hours in a hectare.

In the past, Cambodia preferred ox and walk- behind tractors.

But now they use modern tractors to plough the rice paddy and walk-behind tractors are only used for transportation.

By using modern tractors, farmers can save time and do not have to spend a whole day in a hectare of rice paddy plowing.

Can farmers afford to buy the modern equipment?

The price of the tractors is a bit higher, but we do have solution for them.

They can pay by monthly installments for every tractor they purchase from John Deere.

People can also generate money from their tractor by renting to other people.

What does the future look like for agricultural machinery in Cambodia?

We have good support from our customers as John Deere is one of the best products in the world.

We also have large support from the manufacturer John Deere itself to grow the market in Cambodia.

Our plan is to expand business here by building more offices to supply more agricultural products in Battambang, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, and Takeo, as well as other provinces.

They do not want to just sell tractors, they are ready to work with us as partners and grow both their business and our business.

This year, we should sell about 400 units, while last year we only sold 300 units.

This article has been edited for length and clarity.

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