High Hopes for Newly Developed Hybrid Rice

A newly developed Cambodian high-yielding hybrid rice variety will be presented in Kompong Thom province’s Kompong Thma commune Monday, in an effort to interest investors in large-scale cultivation of the variety, company executives said Thursday.

Louis Kek, director of Malaynesia Resources, part of the Malaysian-Cambodian joint venture responsible for the new variety’s development, said his company is holding discussion with foreign investors regarding a proposal to cultivate 50,000 hectares of the rice variety in Kompong Thom.

His company had invited Singa­porean and Middle Eastern invest­ors to inspect the first harvest of a 2-hectare test plot of Cambodian Super Hybrid Rice, he added.

Over the past two years the company had developed a Cam­bodian hybrid rice seed variety suitable to local growing conditions, Kek said by telephone from Malaysia.

He added that the project, conducted with Cambodian company Kasekor Khmer Roongroeung and Singapore-based Sunland Agritech, would enlarge its production area in Kompong Thom to 200 hectares next growing season.

“We are ready for a large scale implementation,” he said, adding that the company was looking for investors and local partners such as farmers’ organizations to use its rice seed.

“I expect it will become widely accepted because of the increase in yields,” Kek said.

Kasekor Khmer Roongroeung director, Ang Mongkol, claimed that the Cambodian hybrid rice variety yields 7 to 8 tons per hectare and could be grown without high input requirements, making it suitable for common farmers.

The average yield of Cambod­ian farmers is 2.5 tons per hectare, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The new variety has a short growing cycle of 118 days compared to common local varieties for the dry season and rainy season, which have cycles of three and five months, respectively, Ang Mongkol said.

“I am optimistic that in short time this new seed will be popular among farmers throughout Cam­bo­d­ia,” he said.

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