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What is the 'Champei Sar 70' Rice Variety?

PHNOM PENH: After nine years and 80 on-farm trials, Cambodia and Australia have launched a new fragrant rice variety called ‘Champei Sar 70’.

Champei Sar 70 (CPS 70), is the result of a nearly decade-long 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, and was officially released on Wednesday, 5 April 2023, by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Australian Embassy in Cambodia at CARDI headquarters.

It is a fragrant rice that matures after three months, and 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, which will significantly help to reduce the burden of working capital, paddy storage cost and post-harvest loss.

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Dith Tina, has said that CPS 70’s high yields will allow Cambodian rice to better compete on the international market. He urged the private sector to help promote this new variety at international forums or exhibitions, and said it is necessary to show the international community how this type of rice was cultivated so that they can gain an understanding of how CPS 70 is different.

"If we encourage more Cambodian expatriates abroad to understand the different varieties of pure rice we have, then demand will increase and rice exports will also increase higher and higher," said Minister Dith Tina.

Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Justin Whyatt, said Australia is very proud to have supported the Ministry of Agriculture and CARDI on the development of CPS 70, and he hopes Cambodian farmers will grow the new rice variety to support local and international markets, including Australia. He further added that Australia will continue to support CARDI for more rice seed research, as the country has already supported research into 50 rice seed varieties in the past.

The Director of CARDI, Lor Bunna, confirmed that CPS 70 has been in development since 2013 and has so far been planted in some provinces such as Prey Veng. He described CPS 70 as a light, fragrant rice variety that can be planted during all seasons, at least three times a year. He especially highlighted its resistance to floods and drought, and its quick yield production which can be harvested in 90-97 days. He explained that farmers can harvest the rice in less than 90 days if crops are directly seeded, however, if the rice crop is transplanted, it can take between 90 to 97 days to harvest.

Secretary of State to the Ministry of Agriculture, Yang Saing Koma, said the Ministry was actively working to tackle the problem of farmers mixing rice varieties and selling low quality rice at the lowest prices, which prevents Cambodian rice from being competitive on the international market.

He said the Ministry will work to ensure that consumers get good quality seeds and businesses use 100% pure high-quality rice seeds.

The General-Director of rice crops under the Ministry of Agriculture, Kong Kea, added that the use of pure rice seeds will result in high-quality yields and prevent crop losses during harvest. He said that in the future, the Ministry will set up a system to monitor the rice production process from seeding, to milling and packaging, in order to ensure the best quality possible for all customers.

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