Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina has encouraged a group of university student volunteers to gain a firm grasp on the work involved in seed-rice production to guide local communities on efficient and effective farming practices.

At a meeting with 211 student volunteers from the Royal University of Agriculture on February 17, Tina suggested embracing real-world scenarios with courage and intelligence for self-development, to become civil servants, company staff and experts.

“The presence of student volunteers in each cooperative and commune … will lead to locals adopting more effective and efficient farming practices.

“To achieve this, it’ll be necessary for the students to assist the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute [CARDI] in helping farmers with laboratory testing, cultivation and markets,” he said.

Ministry secretary of state Yang Saing Koma also voiced support for the student training initiative, expressing willingness to do his part to ensure its success, in the interest of farmers, agriculture and broader social development.

The initiative could strengthen the economic security of farmers and otherwise drive improvements in the Cambodian rice sector, as well as create capable commune-level agricultural officials, he argued.

“The lack of experts at the grassroots level is one of the many challenges facing the agricultural sector – and Cambodia is an agricultural country. Hence, at least one expert is required in each commune to help the farmers,” Saing Koma said.