Cambodia and Australia have announced the joint launch of a new fragrant rice variety, Champei Sar 70, after spending nine years researching and experimenting on 80 farmers’ fields.
The official launching ceremony was held on April 5 at the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) under the presidency of H.E. Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and H.E. Justin Whyatt, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Champei Sar 70 (CPS 70) is the result of nearly a decade of collaboration between CARDI and the Australian Government.
CPS 70 was developed from an award-winning Cambodian rice variety, Phka Rumduol with CNi9024. There were 80 on-farm trials in both dry and wet seasons, and three farmer participatory events with nearly 90 participants, a third of them are women, to evaluate promising lines.
CPS 70 is a fragrant rice that matures after three months. It is a non-seasonal crop that is resistant to floods and drought. Farmers can grow CPS 70 two to three times per year, increasing production and output. It will also significantly reduce the burden of working capital, paddy storage cost and post-harvest loss.
“This rice variety is very beneficial for both farmers and traders. It could help farmers cut down on their expenses and efforts to take care of their rice fields. Since it is non-seasonal, traders can buy the paddy all year round,” said Mr. Lor Bunna, Director of CARDI.
H.E. Dith Tina said that Champei Sar 70 was named by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Cambodia and Australia.
“This new variety will significantly contribute to the diversification of fragrant rice production and the export of fragrant rice to international markets, leading to the improvement of farmers’ livelihoods,” he underlined.
“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 CPS 70 to supply local and international markets, including Australia,” said H.E. Ambassador Whyatt.
Australia has been a long-standing supporter of Cambodia’s agriculture sector since the 1960s when it started sending agricultural experts to improve rice-based research.
Agriculture is one of the key pillars of the Cambodian economy, contributing nearly a quarter of the total GDP (2021). Agriculture employs over a third of Cambodia’s workers, with more than half of them being women.
Fragrant rice is in high demand globally and accounts for more than 60 percent of Cambodia’s total milled rice exports. The Cambodia Rice Federation is working towards exporting one million tonnes of milled rice by 2025.
Champei Sar 70 can give a yield of 4.3 tonnes per hectare on average. The 7.7 mm long and 2.06 mm wide grain with a strong aroma can be highly priced in the national and international markets.