There is a need for the Cambodian agriculture sector to reinvent itself by shifting from increased production through land expansion towards Regenerative Agriculture (Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification). As Cambodia “finds new pathways to drive future growth”, technology will play a critical role in transforming the sector. The Royal Government of Cambodia’s (RGC) vision to modernize the country’s agriculture recognizes that sustainable intensification “primarily depends on the application of techniques, new technologies, R&D, mechanization, and increased capacity of irrigation to improve productivity.” This is reflected in several key documents that have been developed by the RGC.
It is well known that shifting from conventional practices towards regenerative agriculture and sustainable intensification requires effective commercialization of techniques and technologies. For this to happen, a standard for production and processing (including decision making tools and quantitative sustainability impact indicators), developing and promoting outreach models that enable large-scale adoption of best practices is needed.
Cambodia has been well represented right from the early development of the SRP, with His Excellency Dr. Ngin Chhay attending SRP’s global plenaries since 2015 and many Cambodian rice millers and exporters, organizations and development partners attending since. The first coordination meetings of Cambodian stakeholders began back in 2016, as did some of the world’s first pilots of the SRP Standard and Performance Indicators in Kampong Thom and Battambang. In 2019 the Global Plenary and General Assembly was hosted in Siem Reap, and opened by His Excellency Veng Sakhon, Minister of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. At this meeting, the GDA, Cambodian businesses and development partners agreed to establish a National Chapter for SRP in Cambodia.
The Sustainable Rice Platform aims to help smallholder farmers and protect the environment by building a context-dependent modular standard for sustainable rice production and processing (including decision making tools and quantitative sustainability impact indicators), developing and promoting outreach models that enable large-scale adoption of best practices through supply chain mechanisms and public policy development; and establishing an international platform globally recognized for its role in promoting continuous improvement in sustainability in the rice sector with a broad participation from all actors throughout the value chain, the public sector and non-profit organizations. SRP’s aim is to offer the global rice supply chain a proven set of instruments to facilitate wide-scale adoption of sustainable best practices. Adoption of the SRP Standard is expected to lead to a 20% increase in yields and a 25% boost in farmer income by 2025.