With the exception of rice milling, the bulk of Cambodia’s agricultural commodities (cassava, maize, cashew nuts, mango, etc.) are exported to neighbouring countries in an unprocessed state. Equally there is very limited value addition of by-products such as rice bran.
CAVAC works with the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) to promote investments in the agri-food industry and is assisting CDC to create a dedicated unit for this purpose. The Program works with the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) and Khmer Enterprise on a unique cost sharing program which will allow SMEs to develop novel agri-food products for both the domestic and international markets.
CAVAC recently commissioned a market study on nine high-value crops with export potential. The study started by analysing the demand, growth and import conditions in key regions such as the EU, China, ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand. The report will be shared widely with the public and private sector.
CAVAC works with CARDI, CRF and GDA on the introduction of four new rice varieties that have export potential. Seed quality in the rice sector remains an issue and poor-quality seed leads to poor quality paddy delivered to the rice mills. CAVAC initiated the idea of Quality Declared Seed (QDS) as a steppingstone to a future comprehensive seed certification system. CAVAC has taken the lead with JICA, GDA, Rice-SDP and IRRI to develop the QDS system and train PDAFF staff and seed producers.
Very high seed rates used in Cambodia hinder the acceptance of quality seed by small holder farmers. CAVAC has demonstrated that by mechanical direct seeding, seed rates can be reduced significantly, offering an incentive to farmers to renew their seed source regularly.