Australia's assistance for the establishment of the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) has enabled Cambodia to research improved rice seed varieties, said Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Hun Sen met with new Australian ambassador Justin Whyatt on March 13 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.

According to Hun Sen’s personal assistant Eang Sophalleth, the premier congratulated Whyatt on being appointed as the new envoy, and expressed his pleasure with cooperation between the two countries, especially in the field of agriculture.

Hun Sen also thanked the Australian government and its people for providing Cambodia with Covid-19 vaccines which, among other forms of assistance, helped the Kingdom bring the disease under control.

“The prime minister also thanked the Australian government and its people for helping Cambodia with demining issues, economic and trade cooperation and joint ventures in other sectors,” Sophalleth said.

CARDI conducts research for sustainable agricultural development in Cambodia. It also has the mission to increase agricultural productivity, improve crop diversification and ensure environmental sustainability as well as rural livelihoods through partnerships in research and application of agricultural techniques.

The institute has a strategic direction to develop and promote widespread use of modern techniques to support the growth of the agriculture sector and develop world-renowned rice varieties like Phka Rumduol.

Phka Rumduol is a type of long-grain jasmine rice that has emerged as a top choice of international buyers, and is one of the varieties exported under the “Malys Angkor” certification mark. The CARDI says it released the variety for farmer use only in 1999, after 10 years of development and testing.

Phka Rumduol won the first prize for 2022 as the “World’s Best Rice” at the World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand, last year. This is the fifth time that Phka Rumduol has been crowned as the World’s Best Rice, having previously won in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018. Cambodia also took second place in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In a report, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) said that in the first two months of 2023, the Kingdom exported nearly 100,000 tonnes of milled rice worth $72.67 million to 38 markets through 40 milled rice export companies.

The report said 49,056 tonnes of milled rice were exported to China, including Hong Kong. This accounted for 50.33 per cent of the total milled rice, to the tune of $33.93 million.