The seed sector in Cambodia- Men Sarom
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  • 1. Men Sarom RUA, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Email: msarom55@gmail.com Presented in a technical workshop on Agricultural Transformation in Asia: Policy Options for Food and Nutrition Security, 25-27 September 2013, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • 2. Objectives  This review paper is attempting to provide an insight to the Cambodian crop production systems, with more emphasis on rice and maize, constraints that the systems are facing, and how seed production system and policy could help transform agricultural system in the country to the next step.
  • 3. Methodology  Desktop research  National Strategic Development Plan (2009-2013)  MAFF Annual Reports  CARDI Annual Reports  Cambodia Seed Law  Draft Seed Policies  Journal-reviewed papers by different authors  Informal Interview
  • 4. Overview Approximately 80 percent of Cambodian lives in rural areas and most of them are farmers. Agriculture contributes about one third to the gross domestic product, where half of this contribution comes from rice. In 2010, the estimated GDP per capita for Cambodia is $792.00, but more than 30% of the population still lives below the national poverty line of one dollar per day.
  • 5.  As an agrarian country, Cambodia relies heavily on agricultural production as its main source for food, nutrition and income.  Cambodia has a total land area of about 18.1 million ha, and about 3.9 million ha (21%) are cropped to rice, maize, cassava, legumes, vegetables and others.
  • 6. Crop Production Statistics Rank Crop 2010 (%) 2011 (%) 2012 (%) 1 Rice 79.51 77.60 76.71 2 Maize 5.83 4.56 5.52 3 Cassava 5.42 10.24 9.23 4 Soybean 2.90 1.85 1.82 5 Mungbean 1.88 1.78 1.71 6 Vegetables 1.42 1.41 1.95 7 Others2) 3.03 2.57 3.06 Total production area, ha 3,516,219 3,825,306 3,920,428
  • 7. Seed Production Systems  Farmer Seed Production System. This is a traditional method applied by farmers for centuries to source seed for their next planting.  Classical Seed Production System. It is a four classes system: BS, FS, RS, CS CARDI AQIP ABK Damnak Teuk CSP
  • 8. Major constraints on crop production Productivity of major crops (rice and maize) remain low as compare to the other countries in the region.  Water. More than 80% of rice and 90% of maize are produced in the wet season and, in most cases, rain is the only source of water available to the crop. The uncertainty of occurrence, distribution, duration and amount of rainfall affect significantly the productivity of these two crop productions.  Soil. Rice soil is particularly sandy, low pH and with poor response to fertilizer application. Salinity is also widely distributed.  Insects pests. Many kinds of pests and diseases are found in crop productions. The present of these pests and diseases affect substantially to both productivity and quality of the produce.  Variety and seed. Cultivation of improved rice varieties by the Cambodian farmers is still limited particularly in the rainfed lowland environments. In maize production, most hybrid varieties from Thailand and Vietnam are cultivated and, only two locally developed open pollinated varieties (OPV) are limited used.
  • 9. Major issues: budget  Recurrent allocation of the national budget to agricultural sector is not only low as compare to other sectors, but declined from about 2.5% in 2005 to 1.7% in 2010.  National research institutions are critically under resourced. Variety development and release is slow, and only 4 rice varieties were able to release for the last 10 years.  Seed production sector in Cambodia is still not well developed and under-resourced.
  • 10. Major issues: seeds  Use of quality seed in rice production in Cambodia is still comparatively low. Over 90% of seed used is obtained by saving on farm, or by exchange within the farming community.  Imported maize hybrid varieties are sometime obsolete with very variable quality, but they are still widely marketed.  Seed of any quality can be sold in Cambodia and there is no basis for legal action against a supplier of inferior seed, even if it failed to germinate and/or contains dangerous insect pests.
  • 11. Major issues: seed policy  No national seed quality standards have yet been published under the seed law  Low recognition/lack of concept of quality seed and its values to the national and household economy by farming communities and policy makers. This is explained by poor distinction between the words grain/paddy, seed and variety.  Seed is traded freely without government control or any sort of seed quality monitoring.  No clear regulation or policy of how to take legal action against supplier of poor quality seed or fake seed.  Seed price is highly variable as it is dictated by individual suppliers.  Planting of unregistered varieties is widely practiced by local farmers.
  • 12. Conclusions  Cambodian economy still relies heavily on agriculture. Therefore any development in this sector can have a significant impact to improve national economy through the improvement of small holding farmer income.  Productivity of rice and maize has increased significantly for the last two decades, but even though it is still lag behind many other countries in the region and the world.  Contributing to a slow development of new variety and seed sector in Cambodia are deficit of capital and policy support.  Cambodian Seed Law has been adopted for more than 5 years but it is still not fully functioning. National seed policy is still in draft form and there is no indication when this policy will get endorsed by the government.
  • 13. Recommendations  Enforce the implementation of the seed law by making all needed regulations.  Establish the national seed council with a clear role to oversee quality seed production system and seed export and import, and to ensure the only quality seed to be distributed and marketed in the country.  Enhance the endorsement of seed policy by the government  Develop a national seed quality standard and a well- equipped independent seed laboratory at the national level.  Develop national list of crop varieties cultivated by farmers and make compulsory variety registration including those originated outside the country.
  • 14. Recommendations (Cont.)  Strengthen institutional capability on seed production, testing and monitoring.  Increase awareness on improved varieties and quality seed as the key factors for crop improvement.  Improve management of farmer seed production systems.  Increase investment on agricultural research and particularly on breeding program for major crop plants.  Develop national fund for a sensible credit system that is easily available for local seed production and distribution agencies.