Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Centre eyes potatoes for a changing diet

Centre eyes potatoes for a changing diet

Raw french fries are washed in a container before cooking. AFP
Raw french fries are washed in a container before cooking. AFP

Centre eyes potatoes for a changing diet

Cambodia's first experimental farm and research centre for potato cultivation opened yesterday as experts confirmed that the Kingdom’s soils are suitable for the starchy tuber – raising hopes that local crops could one day satisfy the fast-food cravings that have put potatoes in high demand.

The facility is located on the campus of Royal University of Agriculture and was built at a cost of $200,000, with funding provided by South Korea’s development agency, KOICA.

Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon said his ministry recently test-planted potatoes on small plots in mountainous Mondulkiri province. The results of the experiment proved that the crop can be grown in Cambodia’s tropical soils, and will likely succeed in Kratie and Ratanakkiri provinces as well, he said.

“The trend of eating foods made from potatoes is increasing in Cambodia, especially among youth,” Sakhon said. “So, we are trying to plant them to supply to the market.” The minister referred to the rising demand for french fries, potato chips and other potato-based foods, but admitted he did not have any hard data to support this.

Thon Serei Udom, assistant to the chairman of HSC Group, which operates the US fast-food chain Burger King in Cambodia, said the demand for potatoes in the company’s restaurants continues to climb. While the chain’s nine local outlets currently source all their potato needs from US suppliers, he said the company would welcome local production.

“Demand for potatoes is increasing annually in parallel with our growing number of branches, so it’s good to try growing potatoes in our country,” he said. “We welcome [this initiative] and always try to use locally made products as much as we can.”

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42