Fifty-nine communities on Tuesday signed agricultural production contracts for agro-industrial crops and organic rice with four companies in a bid to boost production and secure export markets.
Witnessing the signing, Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon lauded the move as a model for such contracts, highlighting the good cooperation between all relevant parties to ensure sustainable agricultural supply, product quality and price guarantee, while establishing solidarity and trust.
The communities are based in Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kampot, Kampong Chhnang, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces.
The signatory companies are Cambodian Agriculture Cooperative Corporation Plc, Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Signatures of Asia Co Ltd and Bayon Heritage Holding Group Co Ltd.
That same day, Cambodia Rice Federation president Song Saran said the contracts obliged the communities to supply nearly 30,000 tonnes of organic paddy, 26,000 tonnes of organic cassava, 100 tonnes of Kampong Speu palm sugar and 50 tonnes of pepper.
He said: “The contracts will greatly do their share in driving the rice trade in Cambodia, especially when it comes to organic rice.
“They underpin the policy to shore up the Kingdom’s rice exports, provide a forum for stakeholders in the agricultural sector – centred on rice – and will represent a model programme for rice millers, exporters and farming communities.”
Chhat Chhieng, 39, head of the Romduol Mlou Prey Cheay Den farming community in Chheb district, Preah Vihear province, told The Post that such contracts are a boon for communities looking to buy and sell.
He noted that in a first for his community, it signed an agricultural production contract with Amru Rice to supply them with 888 tonnes of paddy in the upcoming monsoon-season crop and dry-season crop cycle.
“Normally without such a contract, we and the companies we deal with do not trust each other when it comes to the production, purchase and sale of our agricultural products. Only with the right contract can we instil a bit of confidence,” Chhieng said.
The community would previously sell their products via traders who feed off volatile price movements, he said, adding that the contract fixes the base prices and creates a sense of security.
Sakhon noted the remarkable increases in number of agricultural production contracts inked in the Kingdom, from 62 in 2017, to 90 in 2018 and 498 last year.
The minister said the number of contracts had skyrocketed to 701 this year covering diverse products such as rice, cassava, pepper, palm sugar, vegetables, cashew nuts, corn, mung beans, free-range poultry and pigs.
“I hope that by the end of 2020, we will be able to get up to 1,000 contracts for agricultural production, and with the headwinds we’re making now, we’ll see tens of thousands or even a million contracts inked in the future, due to the large scope of our agricultural products, of which we are only expanding the potential,” Sakhon said.