The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries signed an agreement on Wednesday with the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) with the goal of improving the rice sector by enhancing the analysis, productivity and resilience of value-chain networks.
The agreement was signed by Minister Veng Sakhon and IRRI regional representative for Southeast Asia Dr Yurdi Yasmi.
Sakhon said the agreement will enhance the rice sector through germplasm conservation and utilisation, crop improvements and seed system development.
He added that the goal is also to enhance sustainable management of land through climate-smart product techniques, optimisation of diversified land management, landscape monitoring, modelling and planning, and promoting agriculture modernisation through on-farm mechanisation, post-harvest and by-product management.
“Cambodia is pleased to enter into this increased collaboration with IRRI, our long-time partner and ally in the development of our rice sector.
“The government places strategic importance in strengthening the role of the agriculture sector with rice-based farming systems that are keys to generating jobs, ensuring food security, reducing poverty and developing rural areas.
“This new plan will be a key to achieving our national policy goals and contribute to the country’s economic transformation,” said Sakhon.
IRRI’s Dr Yasmi said the agreement marks another important milestone in a longstanding collaboration that has lasted for more than four decades.
He said IRRI places high importance on rice agri-food research in Cambodia. While the rice sector continues to develop in the Kingdom, new challenges also emerge such as climate change, pests and diseases, drought, decreased productivity and environmental degradation.
He said the research will be crucial to address these challenges. “With the new Collaborative Work Plan that we signed today we are looking forward to many more milestones in the future.
“The agreement will allow us to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between IRRI, the ministry and other partners. These initiatives that will contribute to strengthening the country’ rice sector and advance national policy goals.
“This includes ensuring food security, increasing exports, enhancing economic growth, adapting and mitigating climate change impact and boosting rural development,” he said.
Sakhon highlighted that the partnership was formalised with the first Memorandum of Understanding in 1986. The IRRI‘s continued support for Cambodia was able to significantly increase rice production from 2.4 million tonnes in 1993 to 10.8 million tonnes last year.