January 5, 2021

 

Cambodia to launch first hybrid corn

 

 

Cambodia will launch CHM01, the country's first hybrid corn, later this month, according to the country's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon.

 

The product represents an effort to reduce Cambodia's dependence on imported varieties for animal feed.

 

The move follows more than 200 performance trials in 2014-2020 and a December 29 memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ministry and the Korean Project for International Agriculture Centre (KOPIA) in Cambodia, Sakhon said.

 

The MoU on technical cooperation on producing and promoting the CHM01 seeds in Cambodia aims to strengthen the capacity of researchers and the development of additional hybrid corn varieties, he added.

 

The deal was signed by KOPIA director Kim Yong-hwan and Ngin Chhay, director-general of the General Directorate of Agriculture.

 

The two sides will devise a model for the production and distribution of the seeds to farmers.

 

Corn is classified as the third most important crop in Cambodia after rice and cassava, with the potential for export and domestic supply for animal feed, human food and other products.

 

The ministry registered CHM01 for public use in May last year.

 

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Chhay said the MoU seeks to shore up the use and trade of the hybrid cultivar on the domestic market and reduce imports, noting that the deal's underlying project will run from January 2021 to December 2023.

 

"We will continue to experiment with new hybrid corn varieties to meet market demand and will expand seed production as much as possible to distribute to farmers, leading them to do business – selling them [the hybrids] to other farmers instead of imported seeds," Chhay said.

 

He added that, under the MoU, a directorate working group will prepare large-scale presentations on CHM01 across target key provinces and engage farmers through sundry activities to gain acceptance for public use.

 

He said the directorate's research has found that CHM01 is resistant to climate change and downy mildew (DM) and yields 8.60 tonnes per hectare, which is higher than imported hybrid varieties.

 

Ouk Makara, former director of the Cambodia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), said that CHM01 would provide a boon for Cambodia's animal feed processing industry.

 

"KOPIA's project will help promote the commercial use of this variety of corn in our country," he added.

 

There are currently 18 local animal feed processing mills operating in Cambodia, with a total production capacity of more than 1.2 million tonnes per year, accounting for 56% of the country's total supply, according to the director-general of the ministry's General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, Tan Pannara.

 

As of December 29, corn harvest area stood at 154,598ha with a total annual yield of 735,551 tonnes, according to a report from the directorate.

 

- The Phnom Penh Post