Israel-Funded Agriculture Center Planned to Teach Latest Methods

The Agriculture Ministry plans to establish an advanced agriculture training center in Kompong Speu province funded by Israel with model farms for Cambodian students to study the latest techniques, officials said on Wednesday.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said that the plan was initiated by Yaron Tamir, CEO of Israel’s Agrostudies Program, during a meeting on Monday.

Cambodia has a long history of sending agriculture students to Israel, which is considered a world leader in agricultural technologies.

With a specialist Israel-backed center in the country, the students would be able to continue with advanced studies upon their return home.

Mr. Sakhon said that Prek Leap National College of Agriculture has 20 hectares of land in Kompong Speu province’s Thpong district that could be suitable for the center.

“Our agro-technology is still low. So we need to learn from Israel,” Mr. Sakhon said “This is a good chance for our students to learn advanced agriculture technology and exchange experiences in agriculture.”

The price and construction timeline remained unknown, Mr. Sakhon said, adding that the plan is still in the study stage.

Mr. Sakhon said that Israeli experts would be invited to the center to provide training to the students.

Lor Reaksmey, spokesman for the Agriculture Ministry, said on Wednesday that since 2008, more than 300 students from the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Phnom Penh had taken part in the Agrostudies Internship Program, which recruits hundreds of university students from countries in Africa, Asia and South America to study horticulture or livestock rearing in Israel.

While there, students were able to learn how to use farming technology that had yet to reach most of Cambodia, such as drip irrigation and modern greenhouses.

This year, about 160 agriculture students also went to Israel for on-the-job training on farms, Mr. Reaksmey said.

He added that if the Cambodian center went ahead, it could be equipped with labs and model farms.

“The purpose is that our students could stay there and do research or work in the lab,” Mr. Reaksmey said. “When our students return home, they could apply their training in the center.”

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