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Ministry Looks to Have More Hand in Farm Contracts

  • Chun Sakada
  • VOA Khmer

Local Cambodian villagers plant rice in a farm field during the rainy season in Prakar village.

Local Cambodian villagers plant rice in a farm field during the rainy season in Prakar village.

The Ministry of Agriculture is finalizing a new subdecree that would put it in a major role for contract farmers.

The subdecree lets the ministry help farmers find investment partners and markets for their goods, said Mao Sopheareth, director of the ministry's agro-industrial development department.

“After approving this draft, we'll have a direct relationship between sellers and farmers in signing their contracts,” he said. “This draft will eliminate the middlemen and bring investors directly to meet farmers or farmer associations.”

Farmers have complained in the past of receiving low value for their raw goods, while middlemen reap the value added of better markets. But without a mechanism to help them, it can be difficult for farmers to find a lucrative market for their products.

Meanwhile, Cambodia is hoping to produce 1 million tons for rice for export by 2015.

Mao Sopheareth said the draft will help that goal and will help build trust for investors who want to bring their business here. It is under review by a legal expert and is expected to be examined by the Council of Ministers in February.

Yong Saing Koma, president of Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said that the draft will be good for farmers and sellers by watching over contracts.

“It implements justice,” he said. “The farmers have a clear contract on the market, quality, quantity and standards with the sellers. The foreign companies will buy their products. The company has clarity for buying their products with quality, quantity and standards.”

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