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Cambodia and Australia launched a new fragrant rice variety, Champei Sar 70

After nine years and 80 on-farm trials— Champei Sar 70 is officially here!

Champei Sar 70 (CPS 70) is the result of nearly a decade of collaboration between the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (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. One line was selected and submitted to the National Varietal Release Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).

Today, H.E. Justin Whyatt, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, and H.E. Dith Tina, Minister of MAFF, jointly harvested and launched CPS 70 at the Harvesting Ceremony at CARDI.

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.

Agriculture is one of the key pillars of the Cambodian economy, contributing nearly a quarter of 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 per cent of Cambodia’s total milled rice exports. The Cambodia Rice Federation is working towards exporting one million tonnes of milled rice by 2025. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

H.E. Dith Tina said, “Champei Sar 70 was named by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, to mark the important diplomatic relationship between Cambodia and Australia for the 70th anniversary. 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.”

“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 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. Other key support includes the establishment of CARDI in 1999, a strong partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), and the 12-year Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Value Chain Program (CAVAC), which concluded in 2022.

In September 2022, Australia launched its new flagship development program, the Cambodia Australia Partnership for Resilient Economic Development (CAPRED). Its aim is to help Cambodia achieve sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth. Gender equality, disability and social inclusion (GEDSI) and climate resilience are integrated into all CAPRED activities.

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