Responding to growing demand in US and EU markets, organic rice exports have surged, reaching 200 tonnes in the first six months of this year, compared with 100 tonnes for all of last year.
Demand, however, is outstripping supply, and the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) is pushing for more farmers to grow rice organically by providing the needed infrastructure.
“They order more from us, but we can’t respond to their needs because CEDAC does not yet have enough farmers in some provinces,” Bao Vuthy, CEDAC’s program coodinator, said.
So far, farmers from about 8,000 households in 166 communities in the country have been mobilised to grow rice organically.
For rice to qualify as organic, farmers use natural fertiliser, and the processing differs slightly.
Exports of organic rice are meagre compared with other varieties, such as the fragrant or jasmine. Some 150,000 tonnes of non-organic rice was exported in the first five months of 2013.