Preah Vihear provincial governor Kim Rithy said his province has the potential to become the Kingdom’s largest producer of organic agricultural export products. Agriculture is the backbone of the provincial economy, making up more than 80 per cent of its earnings.

Rithy was addressing a March 23 press conference on the province’s achievements of the past five years, held at the Council of Ministers.

He said 99,120ha of rainy season rice was cultivated in 2022, more than the 91,200ha that had been planned. 283,743 tonnes of rice was harvested from 94,063ha, with an average yield of 3,017 tonnes per hectare.

In particular, for the cultivation of different plantations, a total of 63,434ha of agro-industrial crops and fruit were planted, equivalent to 90.87 per cent of the planned 69,805ha. Long-term fruit crops were grown on 7,201ha, accounting for 72.54 per cent of the target. Industrial crops were produced on 38,318ha, equal to 96.68 per cent of the target, and long-term industrial crops were grown on 17,125ha, equal to 95.10 per cent.

“Preah Vihear has 43 farming communities, with a total of about 10,000 households. With the coordination of the Agricultural Community Development Office, they are registered as agricultural cooperatives with the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,” he said.

“Organic paddy rice, organic cassava, and organic cashew nuts are the major activities of these cooperatives,” he added.

Provincial agriculture department director Peung Tryda said the province produces high-quality organic rice, and has agreements in place with numerous businesses to buy paddy rice.

“The people of Preah Vihear are very happy during harvest season because of these contracts. It means that before they plant their rice, they already have a market, so they are not worried that they will harvest their rice and then have to find buyers,” he explained.

Tryda said that in addition to rice, the province also produces significant crops like cassava, which have been produced more and more in recent years. Last year, farmers cultivated more than 30,000ha, while the year prior just 20,000 of cassava was grown.

“As of the third week of March, cassava chips were selling for more than 900 riel per kilogramme, a 10-year high. This is a great indicator that this year’s market will be a success,” he added.

In addition to cassava, he said 20,000ha of cashew plantations have been established.

“Cashews are currently selling for a respectable price of 5,000 to 6,000 riel per kg [$1.20 to $1.50]. In addition to these significant commodities, the province grows bananas and rubber, both of which have a positive impact on people’s livelihoods,” he concluded.