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High-output rice seed factory set to be built

High-output rice seed factory set to be built

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A worker unloads bags of rice near the corner of Street 108 and Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh over the weekend. The Kingdom is set to build a new rice seed factory.

Cambodia firm Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Singapore-based company to develop a high-output rice seed factory in the Kingdom.

The cooperation between major investment firm OCIC and agriculture research company Smah Prum Royal International Pte Ltd is set to raise a capital of US$1 million to establish the factory, OCIC President Pung Kheav Se said at the Kingdom’s inaugural Cambodia Rice Forum yesterday.

“Although the population continues to increase, our paddy rice production has remained the same. So, producing these high-output seeds is paramount.”

The seeds are expected to produce about eight tonnes per hectare, he said, adding that Smah Prum Royal has done extensive research in recent years to enhance growing techniques.

“I believe this cooperation will improve the country’s current situation in terms of rice production. At present, one hectare only provides us with about two and a half tonnes,” Pung Kheav Se added.

Some industry experts said that while eight tonnes per hectare is an ambitious figure, it is an achievable figure if the right measures are taken.

Yang Saingkoma, President of Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture said that with the use of high-quality seeds and the implementation of efficient irrigation systems, the eight tonne figure is realistic.

“However, farmers should avoid using extreme fertilisers and chemicals, which severely impact the environment as an alternative,” he added.   

While Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official declined to comment yesterday, statistics from the ministry showed a total of 2,794,164 hectares of paddy rice were cultivated across the Kingdom during the wet season between May and September.

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