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RiceTechCambodia signing ceremony in Phnom Penh
On the 25th of September 2019, the new SDG Partnership RiceTechCamboda was signed by Mr. Vreeman of SanoRice, Mr. Song of Amru Rice, Mrs Sok Chan Chhorvy of Oxfam in Cambodia, Mr. Sambath of Development and Partnership in Action, Mrs. Lamme of Larive International and Mr. Song of the Provincial Department of Agriculture of Mondulkiri in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
RiceTechCambodia aims to improve the livelihood of small-scale farmers through training to increase their productivity, enhance their yield and ensure premium price for organically certified rice to the market in Europe.
The project will be implemented in a remote area of Mondulkiri province aiming to reach out to 2400 small-scale rice farmers, 1300 farmers will receive extensive training on organic agriculture and good agricultural practices while getting access to drying, storage and milling facilities, to increase the quality of rice products. As part of this project, we will introduce a pilot project of circular rice-fish farming.
All project activities will directly lead to significant improvement in the livelihoods of local small-scale rice farmers in Mondulkiri and indirectly strengthen the general business climate in Cambodia, contributing to sustainable economic growth.
As such, the partnership has the intention to implement a responsible, sustainable and inclusive rice value chain connecting demand with supply, with smallholder farmers as core stakeholders. By contract farming, we enable farmers to shift to quality-certified organic rice cultivation practices in Mondulkiri, enhance their sustainable farming practices, ensure value-addition to their raw products through facilities for drying, milling and storage, and guarantee them the sales. This is a crucial step towards transforming farmers and their cooperatives as future agripreneurs. This project would realize a positive impact in the lives of these farmers.” – Saran Song, CEO and President of Amru Rice
Why is this project important?
Most rice farming in Mondulkiri is still being done on a subsistence level and many families grow the rice they consume on the land that they inherited from their ancestors. Any surplus rice is sold at local markets, providing a small income for the farmers.
There is no incentive to improve the quality of harvested rice due to a lack of financial stimulus. The farmers are very dependent on middlemen due to the lack of direct sales channels. The farmers are poorly organized and have no access to drying & storage facilities, so they sell most of their rice at peak harvest times. That means they get low prices and have little incentive to invest in improved production.
Organic rice production through contract farming and domestic availability of drying & storage will be a sustainable manner to improve the lives of the economically disadvantaged rice farmers. By means of organic contract farming and an efficient supply chain, the rice farmers will profit right away, by having a secured offtake as well as receiving a premium price leading to a substantial income increase.
What is unique about this project?
Like most upland regions, also the Mondulkiri region shows great potential for organic rice cultivation. The soils are good and there is potential to develop the farmlands with improved rice varieties, proper management assistance, organic certification, and traceability. In addition, local availability of paddy drying and storage facilities will be of added value to develop the area with professional rice production activities, assuring higher quality and less post-harvest losses of the paddy rice before further processing. Given the potential of this region and urged by its commitment to combine social responsibility with commercial viability, the Partnership has carefully selected the Mondulkiri region for the implementation of the project.
“SanoRice adds specialized food safety expertise up to the level of baby food. With this expertise we are able to ensuring a safe value chain from the farmer in Mondulkiri via the harbor in Rotterdam to the final consumer. We seek to optimize the supply chain by implementing organic certification and modern track & trace methodologies, using for example new technologies such as Blockchain. The main contribution from SanoRice to this project is a volume and premium price guarantee to the local farmers and provide access to high quality niche markets in Europe.” – Robert Vreeman, Director of SanoRice Holding B.V.
Inclusive growth for the Cambodian rice sector
CSR is embedded in RiceTechCambodia and it is essential that all stakeholders acknowledge the same standards. As such, doing socially responsible business will be an integral part of the project and applied to all parties, leading to inclusive economic growth in Cambodia.