A senior official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that with a significant increase in coffee consumption in Cambodia, the ministry supports the expansion of robusta coffee bean cultivation, noting that it remains limited.

Ministry secretary of state Yang Saing Koma explained on August 22 that this species of coffee is particularly suited to the geographical conditions of Mondulkiri province, as the plant thrives in a plateau with cool weather and plenty of rain.

He added that there are coffee plantations in Mondulkiri, but they cannot meet current demand, meaning many beans are imported.

“Nowadays, coffee fetches high prices. The ministry is searching for farmers who are interested in expanding their operations. We will offer them the support they need to improve their profits,” he said.

He added that the ministry does not have clear figures on coffee cultivation, but estimates that there are just a few hundred of hectares of coffee plantations in Mondulkriri, mostly of robusta, although some farmers are producing Arabica varieties.

“Arabica coffee is less suitable for cultivation in Cambodia because it requires a very high altitude with very cold weather. Robusta varieties would be ideal, and our farmers would see high yields,” he explained.

Chhay Mony, chief financial officer of KOFI Co Ltd, said that on August 21, his company collaborated with the Mondulkiri provincial agriculture department – under the auspices of the Netherlands Development Organisation’s Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) – to distribute coffee seedlings to 21 households in the province’s Pech Chreada and O’Raing districts, as well as Sen Monorom town.

The distribution marked the first phase of the “Sustainable Coffee Value Chain Development in Mondulkiri” project, which aims to target 300 households.

He explained that the seedlings are climate-resistant coffee strains and should produce high yield.

“These varieties have been studied in detail by a team from the provincial agriculture department, along with seed production and coffee growing specialists from the Western Highlands Agriculture & Forestry Science Institute [WASI],” he said.

“These activities demonstrate the commitment of KOFI and the agriculture department to supporting coffee growers by improving the quality of their produce and expanding their plantations. This will help them to meet market demand and maintain the value of locally produced coffee beans,” he added.

He believed that the project will improve the living standards of the ethnic minority groups in the province.

According to Mony, the next step will involve the company and the department running training sessions to teach modern growing and harvesting techniques to the farmers.