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New CARDI director cites IRRI’s role in making Cambodia a rice-exporting country

Phnom Penh, 2 February 2021 – Mr. Lor Bunna, the new CARDI director of the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), received a courtesy visit from Yurdi Yasmi,  the Southeast Asia Representative of the International Rice Research (IRRI). 

 “IRRI has supported Cambodia to be rice sufficient by increasing rice productivity,” Director Bunna said during the meeting. “Cambodia is now a rice-exporting country.” 

IRRI and Cambodia have been partners in building a strong agricultural system in the country for more than 30 years. The partnership was formalized through a memorandum of understanding in 1986, but IRRI’s support to the country started much earlier.

The CARDI director cited the Cambodia-IRRI-Australia Project (CIAP), a highly successful project that provided rice research infrastructure and delivered well-adapted rice varieties and modern management systems at the time when Cambodia was grappling with  economic and social problems.  CIAP, which  began in 1987, focused on increasing the country’s rice production and productivity of its rice-based production systems. CIAP embarked on breeding programs to develop improved rice varieties for the country’s varied ecosystems. Due in part to the introduction of high-yielding varieties and the adoption of CIAP technologies, Cambodia exported rice for the first time in 1995.

“It is one of the most significant programs in Cambodia that has boosted our rice sector,” Director Bunna said.

Dr. Yasmi reiterated the importance of Cambodia-IRRI Work Plan 2020-2023 that outlines key areas of collaboration. The work plan, which sets a roadmap for enhancing and strengthening Cambodia-IRRI collaboration in the rice-agrifood systems in the country, was signed in May 2020 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and IRRI. 

“IRRI considers working closely with CARDI on various projects a privilege,” Dr. Yasmi said. “I would like to thank CARDI for its trust and confidence in IRRI and we hope to continue the collaboration with CARDI to foster the rice-agrifood systems in the country.”

Representatives from CARDI and IRRI also discussed the progress of existing projects and preparation of new projects to be implemented in Cambodia.  They include CARDI Deputy Director Sakhan Sophanny and Dr. Orn Chhourn, deputy chief of Plant Breeding Division, Mr. Chanthol Uch, IRRI’s Liaison and Partnership senior manager, and Ms. Sreyvanna Yath, the Finance and Administration coordinator at the IRRI-Cambodia Office. 

For more on IRRI’s work in Cambodia, visit this site.