Leading local rice miller and exporter Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd this year plans to buy 15,000 tonnes of organic paddy from communities in Preah Vihear province on a contract farming basis.

Specifically targeting Phka Romduol and premium white rice varieties, the company on November 14 said it will offer growers in areas frequented by traders a 15-30 per cent premium over market value, which it evaluated as an extra 170-250 riel (4.21-8.43 US cents) per kg.

Phka Romduol paddy will be purchased at 1,270-1,550 riel ($0.31-0.38) per kg, it said, underscoring that organic paddy reaps in higher revenue than conventional varieties.

“The communities that strike contracts with the company will not only gain market sustainability and revenue, but will also be able to receive training on various soft skills and practices,” Amru Rice said.

The rice miller said it began its organic paddy project in the province back in 2014 with eight initial communities, which has since risen to 22.

“Contract farming with communities will help ensure quality objectives and standards are met and secure markets for them,” it said.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on November 27 noted that the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Preah Vihear Meanchey Union of Agricultural Cooperative (PMUAC), a partner of Amru Rice, helped set the reference price for the organic paddy.

“Contract farming will help reinforce organic standards, cultivation techniques, business plan write-up, financial records and management,” he said.

According to the provincial agriculture department, 33 agricultural communities across the province have entered contract farming agreements with four private companies to supply 22,195 tonnes of organic paddy.

Listing the companies as Amru Rice, Signatures of Asia Co Ltd, Golden Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd and Saravan Kampong Thom, the department noted that the communities comprise 6,197 households and cover 20,296ha.

Milled-rice exports clocked in at more than 620,000 tonnes last year, piling on 15.24 per cent from the 538,000 tonnes logged in 2015, according to the ministry.