Tuesday, August 13, 2019

IRRI facilitates productive partnerships between farmer cooperatives and rice seller in Cambodia

29 July 2019, Siem Reap ~ The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) continues its strong support for the Cambodian government’s efforts to bolster their country’s rice sector.

Last week, IRRI and the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PDAFF) helped facilitate the contract signing of 16 rice agricultural cooperatives with AMRU Rice Company, one of the country’s fast-growing rice brands.

A total of twenty contracts were signed by AMRU President Oknha Song Saron and the farmer representatives of the cooperatives. Four were for the supply of quality seeds, and the rest were for paddy rice production and purchase.

Initiated through “Accelerating the adoption of stress tolerant rice varieties for smallholder farmers in Cambodia, Phase II” (ASTVII), an IRRI Cambodia project funded by USAID, rice farmers who are members of the cooperatives from the provinces of Kampong Thom and Siem Reap entered into contract farming agreements with AMRU.

Witnesses to the contract signing included officials from PDAFF, the General Directorate of Agriculture, USAID official Sam Ouern Ke, and IRRI country representative Buyung Hadi. The event was covered by local media and BTV Cambodia.

PDAFF officials acknowledged the importance of the partnership agreement and gave their full support, mentioning that their ministry may develop policies to bring regulation for contract farming or PPP agreements. IRRI’s Buyung Hadi stressed the importance of trust built between parties and the advantage for farmer cooperatives to produce in bulk, allowing them to demand better prices for their products. Sam Ke of USAID said that farmers should try their best to maintain quality seeds and produce, and talked about the ASTVII project that supports smallholder farmers.

AMRU President Oknha Song Saron emphasized the need to continue doing smart agriculture, and to promote and use new varieties developed for climate adaptation such as Phka Rumdoul and Phka Mealdei. He talked about how the AMK Microfinance Institute plans to finance up to USD60,000 per cooperative in order to promote continued growth and prosperity within the country’s rice value chain.

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