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NGOs seek higher organic standards

NGOs seek higher organic standards

Farmers from across the Kingdom gathered Monday for a training seminar designed to help growers improve the quality of organic rice to meet international standards and better compete on the global market.

Organised by the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) as part of the fifth National Assembly of the Organic Rice Producers Federation – with funding from a German Development Service programme – the seminar was attended by 72 representatives from farming associations in seven provinces.

“Farmers should upgrade the quality of their organic rice to compete with both local and international markets,” said Yang Saing Koma, president of CEDAC, on Monday.

Winfried Scheewe, a marketing adviser with CEDAC, noted that the quality of milling and packaging of Cambodian organic rice has fallen short of products from other countries in the region.

Cambodian growers were given guidelines for improving harvest quality, including longer drying times so that rice could be stored safely for longer periods.

Seminar attendees were also urged to register their farming associations with provincial agricultural departments in order to receive additional support services, seeds and education in planting techniques.

Mak Seurn, chief of the Department of Agriculture Extension at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries observed that currently only 115 of more than 10,000 farming associations were formally registered with the ministry.

Tra Saroeun, a farming association representative from Prey Veng province, said extremes of weather this year were responsible for a 50 percent drop in organic rice yields compared with last year.

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