Cambodia Seed Industry News 2020

This page features a compilation and selection of Cambodian seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in the Kingdom of Cambodia.  The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.

May 2020

MAFF and IRRI ink cooperation 

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have signed a four-year memorandum to engage in a “Partnership for Cooperation in Technical Science in Research and Training on Basic Rice and Rice Production in the Food Production System”. The aim of the 2020-2023 agreement is to further strengthen cooperation between the two organisations in crops research and development activities, complementing work that has been ongoing for decades. According to an article by the Khmer Times, IRRI’s support for Cambodia’s rice sector dates back to the 1960s, when the institute trained Cambodian scientists and collected more than 4,000 local rice varieties for conservation in the International Rice Genebank. Though many traditional rice varieties were lost as a result of conflict and famine in the 1970s and 1980s, IRRI helped to replenish and restore Cambodia’s rice diversity with some 766 varieties following the signing of an MoU in 1986. The latest  agreement was signed by Minister Veng Sakhorn with Dr. Yurdi Yasmi, a representative of IRRI in Cambodia. See also, news in Khmer language.

Pursat farmers get free paddy seeds 

Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries distributed fragrant rice seeds to some 150 families in eight villages in the Sre Sock commune of the Kandieng district, Pursat province. According to the Cambodia Express News the initiative took place on May 19, each farmer recipient was given 30 kilograms of paddy seed.

Free seeds, safe vegetable production seminar

Central and provincial government officials were photographed at a meeting with other agriculture officers publicizing a semiinar and campaign to distribute free vegetable seeds and instruction to agriculturalists to cope with the ongoing covid-19 emergency. Rasmeinews reports.

April 2020

MAFF announces 2020 vegetable, meat security projections, measures

The Phnom Penh Post, Khmer edition, on April 16, reported on plans by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to secure food supply domestically and from neighboring countries. Addressing Covid-19 food-security, the article notes there is currently sufficient food reserves for at least three months, and cites projections for vegetable and meat supply and demand for the whole year. Domestic vegetable supply was projected to be able to reach 716,313 tonness, 68% of projected demand, which was pegged at about a million tonnes. The remaining needs would need to be imported from neighboring countries, the article notes, adding that the government has identified strategic locations, communities and resources for optimizing and expanding vegetable cultivation; the MAFF would supply necessary inputs, including seeds and agricultural equipment to farmers, and also offer support in the areas of market facilitation and  contract farming. Aside from vegetables, meat demand this year is projected to reach 290,000 tonnes, with domestic supply capacity estimated to be about 239,000 tonnes or 82 Percent. 

Imported seed potatoes to boost tuber expansion in Mondulkiri  

Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture looks to procure $3.5 million’s worth of seed potato to expand cultivation of the tuber crop in Mondulkiri province, reports Khmer Times. The article, citing the Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, notes the plans are part of a project with South Korea, and follow successful trials carried out since last year in the province, where yields reportedly reached 18 tonnes per hectare, enabling farmers to earn as much as “… $17,000 per three-month growing season,” while making the country less dependent on exports, which were quantified at about 5,000 tonnes per year. The article also identifies five varieties shortlisted for the project — one from Ireland, and two each from Germany and Vietnam — which will formally commence as soon as the current Covid-19 situation eases. 

Q1 2020 rice exports jump by 35%: CRF

A report by the Cambodian Rice Federation notes that rice exports in the first quarter of 2020 jumped by 35% year-on-year to 230,948 tonnes, earning a total of $161 million. The report, in English and Khmer, breaks down the exports by type of rice.

How to assure optimal paddy seed purity

In response to farmers’ concerns of low purity and quality issues, the Cambodian Rice Federation has provided a number of guidelines and best practices, reports news in Khmer language. The guidelines include recommendations to buy new “foundation” or “registered” seeds every two-to-three seasons in addition to observing best-practices and standards for pest and weed management.

Pursat gov distributes vegetable seeds rice,

The governor of Pursat province in western Cambodia was photographed, publicised in a public charitable effort to distribute vegetable seeds and rice to some two hundred families in several villages. News here

February 2020

IRRI’s SEA rep visits Ag minister 

Dr. Yurdi Yasmi, the recently-appointed IRRI regional representative for Southeast Asia, paid a courtesy visit to H.E. Veng Sakhon, Minister of the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), in Phnom Penh on February 18.  According to news report, to two discussed ongoing cooperation in rice and seed production. Dr. Yasmi reiterated IRRI’s long term commitment to support MAFF in developing the agricultural sector in Cambodia, especially through rice R&D. IRRI has worked in Cambodia since 1987 and has forged close collaborations with MAFF as well as other development partners to improve the country’s food security, climate resilience, and farmers’ livelihood. In related news, in 2019, Cambodia exported 620,206 tonnes of rice to 61 countries.


Black rice fossil grain dated 1,000 years old

Researchers have confirmed what has been described as “the oldest example of rice production in Cambodia”: Black rice fossils discovered in the basement of a temple site in Thala Barivat district of Stung Treng province were sent to be dated at the Australian National University (ANU), which found the samples to be 900 to 1,000 years old, reports the Phnom Penh Post