The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries plans to send 200 volunteer students to help with rice seed production and is organising agriculture officials in all communes to better serve the Kingdom’s farmers, according to its secretary of state Yang Saing Koma.

Saing Koma was speaking at the 3rd Annual Meeting on Agricultural Sustainability hosted by Amru Rice Co Ltd, Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) and development partners in Siem Reap province on February 24.

He encouraged current and prospective higher education students to choose agricultural studies to contribute to the development of the sector.

“The agriculture ministry is spearheading development of rice-seed systems and cooperation between farmers – through cooperatives and unions of rice producers – along with contract farming with mills, as well as collaboration with other stakeholders for the common good,” he said.

“Contract farming” refers to entry into pre-harvest agreements between buyers and farmers on agricultural production with established conditions, generally regarding product types, prices, quantities, quality and other standards.

“The ministry is also paying attention to the use of agricultural techniques to mitigate climate change impacts, which would also help increase farmers’ incomes and the sustainability of soil fertility,” he added.

According to Saing Koma, over the past two weeks the working group on commune agriculture organised by the ministry has introduced the project by meeting with leaders in 10 communes and 74 villages in Kampong Cham province’s Cheung Prey district.

The working group plans to meet directly with farmers in all villages to easily connect the farmers to the best markets for their goods and to instruct them on ways of obtaining more capital through financing such as bank loans as well.