Agriculture Ministry Announces Rice Varieties for Export Growth

Agriculture Ministry officials on Monday announced the 10 varieties of rice they will ask farmers to plant to increase milled rice exports, ministry officials said Wednesday.

Hean Vanhorn, deputy director-general of the Agriculture Ministry’s general department of agriculture, said the 10 rice varieties had been selected to help reach the rice export goal set by Prime Minister Hun Sen in August.

Under the plan set forth by Mr Hun Sen, Cambodian would be exporting roughly a million tons of milled rice within five years.

“This is an effort of the ministry to improve the agriculture products which push milled rice for export,” Mr Vanhorn said on Wednesday.

According to Mr Vanhorn, the Agriculture Ministry has not yet decided how to disperse seeds to the farmers.

Ouk Makara, director of the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, which bred the rice varieties, said the varieties selected are Sen Pidor, IR66, Chulsa, Pkar Rumduol, Pkar Romdeng, Pkar Romeat, Pkar Chan Sen Sor, Raing Chey, Kha 4 and Kha 6.

According to Mr Makara, Sen Pidor, IR66 and Chulsa rice grow in the dry conditions, while the Pkar varieties are suited to wetter locales. Mr Makara said that Pkar Chan Sen Sor, Kha 4, and Kha 6 produce first-grade milled rice for export while the other varieties produce second-grade milled rice.

“Some of these varieties have been used by farmers for many years now, but we selected them because they are high yield and had been adopted by farmers in 14 provinces, according to a study we conducted in 2008,” Mr Makara said.

Cambodia Rice Millers Association President Phou Puy said members of his organization had yet to decide whether they would distribute the seeds for free and ask for repayment from farmers later, or if the seeds would just be free.

“We want farmers to plant the seeds that will produce both a greater quantity and a greater quality so that we can sell our export rice for a higher price,” Mr Puy said.


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