Agricultural rice map updated to boost production

February 17, 2021, Sar Socheath / Khmer Times,

The Ministry of Agriculture is updating the national rice map to boost the Kingdom’s quality and quantity of rice production by providing detailed data about geographic areas.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said recently on his Facebook page that it is necessary to update both the classification and the eco-agricultural map of the rice-growing areas in Cambodia as a basis for building an orientation plan on the implementation of policies and development for rice production.

He said outcomes based on the map include basic rice diversification, development of micro-irrigation systems, crop insurance as well as diversification of crops best suited to a particular soil, climate and other factors considered for each zone.

Using the map together with a clear understanding of economic and population growth, and the momentum of development in all sectors of Cambodia’s rice map, the government can respond to the overall need to increase rice production and ensure the multiplication, safety and security of rice in accordance with export market orientation, he added.

Cambodia Rice Federation president Song Saran congratulated this initiative.

“We welcome the initiative to have the rice map, as we have been requesting it for two years,” he said.

“It will give our rice sector a clear orientation. This map will be a guide to develop our rice sector in the right way in the future,” he told Khmer Times.

“Cambodia has different geographic areas and types of soils, but when we have this map, we can help our farmers to make the right decisions for their specific land about seed, water use and proper amounts and types of fertiliser,” he said. “It can also help us to prepare our rice markets well, too.”

According to the ministry, Cambodia is currently using a remote sensing-based monitoring company known as ‘RIICE’ to collect and analyse detailed information to assist the government with policy-making and to help insurance evaluate risks. RIICE uses applications such as MAPscape, ArcGIS, QGIS, Rice-YES and Oryza Crop Model.

Rice is one of the major food crops, which provide food security for the Cambodian people.

Last year, Cambodia grew a total of 3,404,131 hectares of rice with a total of 10,935,618 tonnes of output. Cambodia exported a total of 690,829 tonnes of milled rice to international markets earning nearly $540 million and 2,893,750 tonnes of paddy rice, worth almost $725 million, to neighbouring countries.