Preah Vihear Aims to Become Organic Agro Province

Preah Vihear is working to turn itself into an organic agro province in Cambodia, H.E. Kim Rithy, the Provincial Governor, told the Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) on Thursday in an inclusive interview.

Agriculture is the province’s potential sector, plus existing resources such as organic rice, organic cashew nuts as well as organic cassava, which have already been welcomed by the public, he said, stressing that the province has been promoting organic farming among farmers across the province.

H.E. Kim Rithy said organic farming is considered value-added, and the farmers can sell their organic agricultural products more expensively than those using pesticides or chemical fertilisers, although organic products have lower yields.

“According to our studies, our local farmers can sell their organic products about 20 to 50 percent more expensively than conventional agricultural products, and some products can even be sold at a double price,” he said.

The governor said Preah Vihear province has a lot of potential in terms of organic farming. So far, most farmers have grown crops in the traditional way. “Seeing this, I set a goal with my colleagues to make Preah Vihear become an organic province,” he added.

To achieve this concept, he continued, we must make all villages become organic villages. Once each village is organic, Preah Vihear will become an organic province. Anyway, the province is encouraging private companies to place orders at the village and community levels.

Preah Vihear province has a total of 43 organic communities that are in the process of developing and implementing contract farming.

According to the provincial governor, the main obstacle of this organic target is competition in the market because the yield of organic agriculture is generally lower than that of conventional agricultural practices, that is why we have to promote the value addition, however with this challenge we also see the opportunity as people are now concerned about their health.

H.E. Kim Rithy said people now wants to eat natural vegetables, we all do not want to eat vegetables that are grown with toxic pesticides or fertilisers, so people now turn to natural products despite higher price, they want to be healthy, which is also an opportunity for us to promote our products.

H.E. Governor underlined that another important point is that we are preparing to set a standard that is appropriate to guarantee for the general public.

Regarding the agricultural potential in Preah Vihear province, Director of Preah Vihear provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Mr. Poeung Tryda said that agriculture is the core sector of the people in the whole province.

In Preah Vihear, Mr. Tryda pointed out, about 80 percent of the population depend on agriculture and the main crops are rice covering about 100,000 hectares, cassava 30,000 hectares, and cashew more than 17,000 hectares, as well as about 20,000 hectares of rubber, and 8,000 hectares of bananas, beans, and durians.

Organic rice, grown by more than 10,000 families, is the province’s agricultural product recognised both domestically and abroad, while bananas have been brought to Phnom Penh capital and Siem Reap province.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press