Cambodia Seed Industry News

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.


Q3 News

Rainy season rice cultivation exceeds target: August 20: Rainy season rice has been cultivated on more than 2.6 million hectares, which represents 101.90 of of the annual target. The news was announced by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon through Facebook. Last year, Cambodia was only able to achieve 94.74 percent of its annual rainy season paddy planting target, said the Minister, who attributed the success to increased planting of ‘light rice’ with an average yield of 4.2 tonnes per hectare. He also noted that heat and drought conditions caused damage to about 67,942 hectares in Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Kandal, and Siem Reap, which represents about 2.56 percent of the national total. The Minister went on to note planting success for other crops such as white corn, sweet potatoes, vegetables, chili, and watermelon, which were cultivated on 95.66 % of the national target. Cash crops, including red corn, cassava, beans, peanuts, soybeans, sesame and sugarcane have reached 93.46 percent of the national cultivation target. See original news here

Rice trials to select ‘non seasonal’ aromatic hybrid rice lines: Aug 9: The Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is promoting the cultivation of "non-seasonal fragrant rice" hybrids. Quoted in a local news article, Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon, revealed  details about research carried out from 2017 to 2020 by the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute to develop new non-seasonal aromatic hybrid rice varieties. With financial support from the Australian Government through the CAVAC project (CAVAC) research and trials via farmers and the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) has  involved the planting and selection of about 100 sixth generation (F6) lines in the dry and wet seasons. Trials carried out in in Prey Veng, Siem Reap and Battambang have so far have yielded several promising lines. Data analytics and trials are ongoing.

Quarter Four reopening mulled as restrictions persist: July 27: Though government sources have hinted that the country could be read to open up to travel as soon as November, other insiders predict that it might not be until early 2022. Various restrictions are in place throughout the country (see lockdown and case map). With new surges in cases inflicting the country in June and July, the Phnom Penh Capital Administration suspended "high risk" businesses and activities in the capital, inccluding clubs, karaoke, bars, discos, beer gardens and casinos, resorts, museums, amusement parks, massage parlors, cinemas, art theaters, fitness clubs and sports centers, while private large gatherings of 15 people and over were also barred, with some exceptions.  In related news, Reuters on July 23 reported on Cambodian cyclo taxi drivers flocking to the streets of Phnom Penh with mobile food banks to distribute free food and essentials to those hit hard by coronavirus movement restrictions. 

Cassava, corn crops lost in drought: July 20: Some 1,300 hectares of cassava crops have been reported destroyed in Pailin province, following nearly three months of severe drought conditions. The province’s department of agriculture said that both cassava and corn crops have been destroyed, despite interventions to save some crops. These include the spraying of pesticides to counter opportunist pests praying on the weakened, thirsty crops. According to a figure citing the Ministry of Agriculture, Cambodia more than 660,000 hectares have been allocated for cassava, which yields more than 12 million tonnes a  year. See original story here.


Q2 News

Farmers, produce-markets hit hard by pandemic: May 27: Radio Free Asia has published a video report that highlights pandemic-induced concerns of chilli pepper, cucumber and pineapple farmers in the northwest of the country. According to a farmer interviewed, lockdowns have caused restaurants  to close and a reduction in produce demand linked to plummeting prices and rising production costs. See video here.

Lockdowns after Battambang maize seed supplier tests positive: May 20: Kampucheathmey reports that the Battambang Provincial Administration had issued a decision on the temporary closure of three locations in the district as part of Covid-19 containment efforts following reports that a 36-year-old employee of a maize seed and fertilizer distribution company who had been deemed infected had recently visited said locations. News here.

Demand, price for high-yielding hybrid paddy cultivar rises: May 13: The price for OM 5451 rice continues to rise driven in part by strong demand from Vietnam. The hybrid rice cultivar was developed to produce a high yield and is resistant to pests and disease. As a result, farmers growing OM 5451 rice in the Kingdom are achieving much higher yields than average with a cooperative in Kampong Chhnang Province averaging 6.5 tonnes per hectare, compared to 4.5 tonnes per hectare averaged across the country in the dry-season harvest as reported by the General Directorate of Agriculture chief Ngin Chhay. Cambodia has two rice crops per year, with the monsoon-season crop planed from May to July and harvested in December, while the dry-season crop is sown in November and harvested in the first two months of the year. In 2020, Cambodia exported 2,893,951 tonnes of rice worth more than USD 723 million, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Original story here

‘Build Back Better’ through seed conservation: April 23: Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr. Veng Sakhon, vocalized his government’s prioritization of the conservation of seeds and protection of crops through the strengthening of sanitation and phytosanitary  measures. His remarks were made during an online roundtable discussion on food systems transformation in the Asia-Pacific region. Organized by the World Bank as part of theme and agenda to ‘Build Back Better’ ahead of 2030, the meeting was attended by the Ministers of Agriculture from Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Vietnam and East Timor, as well as representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other organizations. See Khmer news here

Encouraging farmers to grow Cocoa for export: April 11: Cambodian farmers are being encouraged to grow 1 million cocoa trees and collect cocoa beans for export to international markets. A company will reportedly supply 300,000 cocoa seedlings of a Thai weather-resilient variety. In the past in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri there were many farmers growing this crop, which requires between 18 and 24 months to cultivate from seedling to harvest. News here

Improving cassava yields with the right variety: April 9: For the last five years, cassava yields in Tbong Khmum province have been on decline due to “improper selection of cultivars”. In order to empower farmers to achieve maximum yields the Tbong Khmum Department of Agriculture has advised farmers to select Malay cassava cultivars, which are weather resilient and disease resistant, especially to the endemic Mosaic Virus. In 2020, farmers in the province planted cassava across ​​55,475 hectares, 55,360 of which were cultivated in the rainy season and 115 hectares in the dry season, yielding a total of 1,003,855 tonnes. See original news here


Q1 News

Eggplant farmers enjoy high yields amid declining prices: March 28: In Battambang Province the ‘Hawaiian eggplant’ is a popular cultivar cultivated for use in many kinds of foods widely consumed. Though cultivation and yields have grown, prices have dropped. One farmers who harvest between 300 to 500 kilograms per day this year is only able to get 400 riel (US$0.24) per kg, compared to last year when he got 1,000 riel (10 cents) per kg. Original news here

Encouraging veg, garlic growing in Mondulkiri: March 27: The Mondulkiri Provincial Department of Agriculture is pushing to increase cultivation of garlic following promising planting trials as part of efforts to  reduce the need to import the tuber crop. Aside from this, other crops being encouraged include cabbage and carrots, which can fetch between 4,000 to 4,500 riel ($0.98 to 1.10) per kilogram. Original news here.

Dry season crop production higher than previous year: Mar 26: Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr. Veng Sakhon, reveiled that as of March 25, 2021, rice had been sown or transplanted on 649,539 ha, up 52,031 ha over planting this time last year. This crop is tipped to yield 2,175,197 tonnes, which would be an average yield of 4.47 tons / ha. Dry season rice was harvested this year across 486,646 hectares. As for other horticultural crops, white corn, sweet potato, and various kinds of vegetables, peppers and watermelon was sown on 38,170 hectares, up by 544 hectares over last year. Moreover, cassava, soybeans, peanuts, soybeans, sesame, sugar cane, sorghum, tobacco and lotus had been cultivated on 89,864 ha. See original news here.

Tomato breeding efforts and seed distribution: 2 March:  The Department of Agriculture has been developing high yielding and weather resistant varieties of vegetable crops, such as 13 varieties of tomatoes, to be used by farmers. Yields of the tomato varieties average from 40-50 tons per hectare up to 50-60 tons per hectare. In 2020, the Department of Agriculture distributed 31.88 tons of vegetable seeds, equivalent to 524,838 packages to 104,478 families affected by floods in 17 target provinces, including Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Kratie, Pursat, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Takeo, Kandal, Stung Treng, Pailin, Kampot, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, Svay Rieng and Kampong Speu provinces. Read original story in Khmer here 

Officials praise ‘safe vegetable’ production in Senmonorom: February 2021: Having completed inspections of agriculture production sites in Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and Mondulkiri provinces, central and local government officials were impressed after inspecting vegetable cultivation site on an area of ​​6 hectares in Sen Monorom city of Mondulkiri province. The site included mostly cabbage and potato, and was appreciated as a model site for the cultivation of ‘safe vegetables’ with high market potential. According to the MAFF reports, “growing and providing good crops can return a high source of income, ranging  from US$5,000-8,000 per year”. Read original reports here and here.  

Chum Kiri farmers complain about low price of vegetables: 28 January, 2021: Vegetable growers in the Sre Cheng commune, Chum Kiri district,  Kampot Province are struggling to realize returns due to low prices of vegetables linked to an oversupply, and the high overheads for production. They have requested intervention by relevant officials to intervene. Read original report here

Yellow watermelon variety in Mondulkiri sells well: 6 February: One farmer has reported success with a yellow watermelon variety he has  cultivated in the Pu Chrey commune, Pichreada district of Mondulkiri province for four years. According to the 44-year-old farmer the yellow watermelon has a wide market and sells well. According to the farmer, there are no other serious growers of yellow watermelon in his area. The variety is reportedly a Japanese one that has a growth cycle of about 65 days, is sweet and can fetch a price locally, and in the Cambodian capital of about 4,000 to 5,000 riel ($1 - 1.23) per kilogram. Aside from the watermelon, he also grows vegetables on his 12 hectares plot of land, including cabbage, kale, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and potatoes. One hectare is exclusively for watermelon. See original report here

Setting New Standards in Phkar Romduol rice seed production: A rice-growing community in Moung Ruessei District, Battambang Province, was acknowledged by Mr. Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, for its quality of ‘Phkar Romduol’ rice seed production. The community of 121 families currently farms 800 hectares of rice fields, with 45 hectares for seed production with the support from the Climate Resilient Rice Commercialization Sector Development Program (Rice-SDP), that aims to promote high quality rice seed that produces export quality rice. See original story here.

Minister of Agriculture inspects Mega First plantation in Mondulkiri: A plantation in Mondulkiri Province owned by MegaFace Company was recently visited by Mr. Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The plantation currently has over 6,419 hectares under production including 700 hectares of fragrant coconut, a variety imported from Malaysia with a large fruit, that is ideal for producing coconut water and coconut oil. Read original report here.

Seeking mosaic virus resistant cassava: January 2021: The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has instructed farmers to select cassava varieties that are healthy and of good quality, resistant to climate change, resistant to diseases and pests. For higher yields. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, KU50 and 81 varieties are good choices for farmers to grow high yields without disease and especially those resistant to mosaic virus disease According to a report by the General Department of Agriculture released on December 29, 2020 states that there are currently 656,868 cassava plantations nationwide. Hectares, which yield an average of more than 12 million tons per year. Read more here. As well in this article which mentions specific details of various cassava trials.

2020 News

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DECEMBER 2020

New high-yielding hybrid maize variety to be released: December 2020:

Phnom Penh: A specialized unit of the Ministry of Agriculture has given the nod to a new disease-resistant, high yielding maize variety. The new variety, dubbed CHM01, is said to be resistant to Downy Mildew, and can yield about 8.60 tons per hectare, which is higher than imported corn varieties. R&D for the new variety reportedly began in  2014 at the Banteay Dek Agricultural Research Station, Kandal Province, in collaboration with the General Department of Agriculture and the KOPIA Center in Cambodia. More details in Khmer here.  According to another article, Cambodia currently has ​​154,598 hectares under maize cultivation with output pegged at 735,551 tons / year. According to this article, the new variety was trialled in Battambang, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum and more than 200 places in Kandal province in both rainy and dry seasons from 2017, 2018 and 2019  Also, see coverage in this article in Khmer
 
Minister of Agriculture updates seeds, cropping situation: December 2020:
The Minister of Forestry and Fisheries, Mr. Veng Sakhon on December 10 gave a status update on cropping and seed supply matters following devastating floods earlier in the month. As of December 7, a total of 7 million hectares of rice had been harvested, yielding a total of 5.6 million tonnes of grain. The average yield per hectare was 3.16 tons. According to the report on rain-fed rice harvest in each province prepared by the Department of Rice of the General Department of Agriculture, a total of 90% of the rice areas in Koh Kong, Kratie, Ratanakkiri and Stung Treng had been harvested, while about 70 to 80% of that in Kampot, Pursat, Siem Reap, Svay Rieng and Oddar Meanchey provinces had been harvested; however, only 50 to 60% of the areas in . Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kandal, Mondulkiri, Phnom Penh, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Takeo, Kep, Pailin and Tbong Khmum provinces was harvested, while less than 50% had been harvested in Battambang, Kampong Speu and Kampong Thom provinces. The least harvested area was Sihanoukville, where only 20 percent of the total cultivated land was harvested. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has reportedly  distributed a total of 6,434 tons of paddy seeds in addition to nearly 560,000 packages of vegetable seeds to farmers. Recent floods have negatively impacted some 600,000 people, with about 380,000 hectares of farmland inundated. Original report in Khmer language here

Rice sowing machines for flood-stricken provinces: December 2020:

Some 150 rice sowing machines were distributed by the Ministry of Agriculture to agriculturalists in Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces as part of flood relief efforts. The three provinces were among the worst affected by recent floods, which especially affected the rice crop. The sowing machines will be used to sow some 40,000 hectares. According to the Minister of Agriculture, each province will receive 50 rice sowing machines. More details in Khmer here.  
 
Kampong Chhnang farming families get Covid-19 relief rice seeds: December 2020:
A total of 4 tons and 77 kilograms of rice seeds were distributed to 40 families in Kampong Chhnang province. The seeds were distributed by the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as part of economic relief.  Each family received between 77 and 100kg of seeds. More details in
Khmer here
 
Garlic seed trialing in Mondulkiri Province: December 2020:
With the guidance of Mr. Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Mondulkiri Province Bring has distributed garlic seeds to five farming families for cultivation trials. The ministry will plan to expand domestic cultivation of both garlic and potato to reduce imports of these crops. Original report here
 

august 2020

Officials distribute vegetable seeds to 21k families

SIEM RIEP: A total of 21,178 farming families in three districts (Srey Snom, Varin, and Chum) received free vegetable seeds, distributed by officials through the Cambodian Food Reserve System. According to Rasmeinews.com officials distributed the seeds over three days, starting on July 28, 2020. The stated aim of the distribution was to promote “safe vegetable cultivation” without chemical fertilizers, increase food self sufficiency and help create jobs while improving the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable. As a result of the covid-19 crisis, many in the districts became unemployed, having returned from neighboring countries where they worked as migrant laborers. According to coverage by AKP (Agence Kampuchea Press), the distribution of vegetable seeds through the Cambodian Food Reserve System has been carried out since 2016 in Takeo, Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Vihear and other provinces.
 
Three cycles a year possible, but soil health could be compromised, officials warn
Farmers in the Boeung Nay commune of Prey Chhor district in Kampong Cham Province were cautioned about degrading the soil without sufficient replenishment. It was revealed in this article that the locale has the capacity to cultivate rice three times a year in an area of more than 2,000 hectares, using a certain “51-54” variety from Vietnam that boasts an average yield of six to seven tons per hectare. However, officials have warned of detrimental consequences that could be brought by such intensive planting without sufficient breaks in between to rest or replenish the soil. Typically, the initial cycle lasts from January to April, and some farmers have successfully pursued an “early” second cycle from April to the end of July, which allows for a third cycle between August to December. However, such intensive planting entails excess use of strong fertilizers, which can affect soil and thus human health affects the quality of the soil and the use of toxic substances is detrimental to the human living environment. This problem is being prepared to explain to the above farmers to turn to planting alternative crops. As of early August, farmers in the locale have harvested a second cycle on some 512 hectares, with sowing covering a total of 16,145 hectares. Drought conditions have affected about 227 hectares in a total of 15 communes.
 
JUNE and July 2020
Rice exports in first half of 2020 surge
Cambodia exported more than 390,000 tons of rice in the first half of 2020, which is 41% more than the same period last year, when the country exported 281 538 tons. This is according to the Phnom Penh Post (Khmer edition), which cites a report by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Cambodian rice exports to the EU increased by 45.19%, while those to China increased by 25.20%, and to ASEAN countries by 47. 7 %.
Reforestation of Angkor
Central to reforestation efforts around the ancient Khmer capital of Angkor Wat is an 8-hectare nursery in Siem Reap Province, which is run by the APSARA National Authority (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap). At the nursery, which is one of four stations of APSARA National Authority, saplings are raised for planting inside and outside the Angkor resort, including types of rare rosewood. Efforts begin with the collection of seeds and seedlings from the forest in the Angkor area, provided by the private sector and purchased from markets. Each year, more than 20,000 seedlings are ultimately planted. Last year, the number of trees planted was 50,000.
Vegetable seeds for farmers in Samrong
Officials from the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in collaboration with the CHAIN (Cambodia Horticulture Advancing Income and Nutrition) ​​project of the not-for-profit international development organisation, SNV, delivered seeds and fertilizers to 89 vegetable farmers from various communes in Samrong City, the capital of Oddar Meanchey Province in north-western Cambodia. According to Khmer coverage of the initiative, the provision of seeds and fertilizers to the vegetable farmers is part of efforts to support family vegetable farmers to become semi-professional and professional vegetable growers with seeds, cabbage, watermelon and cucumber. The seeds were donated by leading vegetable seed company and APSA member, East-West Seeds, who has recently partnered with World Vegetable Center in a project to uplift farmers in Cambodia in Laos. Stay tuned for more details on such initiatives. 
Bolstering aromatic rice exports
Eight farming communities in Battambang province on July 10 signed an agreement to produce and supply aromatic rice to AMRURice Group for export. Battambang province is favorable for aromatic rice in Cambodia, especially in the Mongkul Borey district, Banteay Meanchey province. Rasemeinews reports
Rice blockchain tracking platform scales up to 500 farmer households 
Amru Rice, which is reportedly one of Cambodia’s leading rice exporters, launched its BlocRice blockchain project in April 2018 initially with 50 farmer households, and has rapidly scaled up the platform to now cover 500 households across two communities. Reports Techwire,  “the goal of BlocRice is to ensure farmers can sell their product at a higher price and that the country’s main food sources can be identified.” The platform assigns digital identities to individual farmers, and using blockchain technology, facilitates tracking of their rice — from the paddies to the consumer. “Thanks to blockchain’s key tenets – the immutable storage of data, visible in real-time to any party provided with access – retailers and consumers can gain clear insight into how their food was produced and just how much the farmers that made it are really benefiting from the industry,” the article states. The company aims to utilize blockchain technology for the benefit of millions of households, “not only in rice but all agricultural crops.”
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 Sabay.com 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