World Bank Subsidiary to Train 2,000 Contract Rice Farmers

A World Bank subsidiary will soon start training 2,000 farmers contracted to supply a leading Cambodian rice exporter on how to meet an international farming standard.

The International Finance Corporation will work with Amru Rice over three years to implement the U.N.-led Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) in Kompong Cham province, the two organizations announced on Tuesday in a statement.

Farmers transplant rice next to a sugar cane field in July 2016. (John Vink)

Farmers will be scored on 46 criteria, including record keeping, seed variety, pesticide choice, water management and the use of child labor.

Hean Vanhorn, deputy director-general at the Agriculture Ministry, said it was the first time the standard was being introduced to the sector, and explained that the project could help contract farmers market their paddy rice.

“When they know they need to produce according to this standard, and they know the profit they can make before harvesting, it can avoid the common problem of individual farming with no unified structure, which often affects their sales,” Mr. Vanhorn said.

“We do have other standards—like the organic standard—but those products are specific and hard to produce at a big scale,” he added. “SRP is easier to apply in the context of sustainability, which is now a global trend.”

The International Finance Corporation and Amru did not immediately respond to questions about the project’s cost and starting date.

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