Cambodia, Australia Launch New Fragrant Rice Variety

Cambodia and Australia have launched a fragrant rice variety called Champei Sar 70 (CPS) after 80 farm trials over nine years. Photo: MAFF

PHNOM PENH – Cambodia and Australia have launched a fragrant rice variety called Champei Sar 70 (CPS) after 80 farm trials over nine years.

Champei Sar was developed from the award-winning rice varieties Pkha Romduol and CNi9024 by the Cambodia Agricultural Development Institute (CARDI) and the Australian Government, the Agriculture Ministry said.

CPS matures in three months, is resistant to floods and drought and farmers can grow it two or three times a year.

To evaluate promising lines, trials took part in the dry and wet seasons. There were nearly 90 participants, with a third of them being women.

The National Varietal Release Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries received one line that was chosen and submitted.

CARDI director Lor Bunna said this rice variety is very beneficial for farmers and traders.

“It helps farmers cut down on expenses and effort to take care of the rice field, and the trader can buy paddy year-round since it’s a non-seasonal crop,” said Lor Bunna.

Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, said the name Champei Sar 70 was given by PM Hun Sen to mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Australia and to contribute to the variety of fragrant rice and farmers’ livelihoods.

“This new variety will significantly contribute to the diversification of fragrant rice production and the export of the fragrant rice to the international market, leading to the improvement of farmers’ livelihoods,” he added.

Justin Whyatt, Australia’s Ambassador to Cambodia said Australia is very proud to have supported MAFF and CARDI on the development of Champei Sar 70.

“I hope that farmers across Cambodia will grow CPS70 to supply the local and international market, including Australia,” he added.

Over a third of Cambodia's workforce, including more than half of women workers, is employed in agriculture, which supports the country's economy by providing nearly a quarter of its total GDP.

More than 60% of all the milled rice exported from Cambodia is fragrant rice, which is in high demand worldwide.

Cambodia Rice Federation aims to achieve a million tonnes of milled rice exports by 2025.

Since the 1960s, when it first began sending agriculture experts to improve rice-based research, Australia has been a long-time supporter of Cambodia's agricultural sector.

Other significant contributions include the founding of CARDI in 1999 and a collaboration with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, which came to an end in 2022.

In September 2022, Australia launched its new flagship development program, the Cambodia Australia Partnership for Resilient Economic Development, which aims to help Cambodia achieve sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth.

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