Phnom Penh 23 September – the Ambassador of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E Sudirman Haseng welcomed Dr. Yurdi Yasmi, IRRI’s Regional Representative for Southeast Asia, at the Embassy of the Republic Indonesia in Phnom Penh. The Ambassador recognized the important role of IRRI in the global rice agri-food systems. His Excellency praised IRRI’s commitment to continue to support food security and its continued collaboration with Indonesia.
The Ambassador said “Indonesia looks forward to strengthening agriculture cooperation with the Kingdom of Cambodia. Such cooperation can be materialized with the support of IRRI and other development partners.” The Ambassador and Dr. Yurdi Yasmi brainstormed on potential areas that could be considered, such as exchange of knowledge and science, capacity building and training, development of agriculture infrastructure such as irrigation, new technology and equipment, etc.
During the meeting Dr. Yurdi Yasmi mentioned that Indonesia and IRRI have collaborated since 1962, almost five decades. IRRI office in Indonesia is hosted and provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. Various achievements have been demonstrated over the course of the collaboration. Underpinned by the partnership between Indonesia and IRRI, as well as Indonesia’s success in developing its agriculture sector, average rice yield has increased from just 2.4 tons per ha in 1972 to almost 5.1 tons per ha today. Recognizing IRRI’s role in helping Indonesia achieve rice self-sufficiency in the 1980s, the President presented the Bintang Jasa Utama, the country’s highest merit award, to IRRI in 1989.
One of the ideas that Dr. Yurdi Yasmi suggested was South-South Cooperation between Indonesia and Cambodia. He mentioned “As rice is the most important agriculture commodity for both Indonesia and Cambodia there is a huge opportunity for strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the rice sector. Exchange of experts, training, technology transfer and other types of cooperation can be explored; and IRRI is ready to facilitate such cooperation.”
Like in Indonesia, IRRI also has a strong historical and ongoing collaboration with Cambodia. Cambodia and IRRI have been partners in building a strong rice system in the country for more than 30 years. In the 1980s, IRRI reintroduced more than 750 traditional Cambodian rice varieties into the country lost during the Khmer Rouge era and then helped us to successfully establish the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).
To learn more about IRRI’s work in Southeast Asia, visit this site.