Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cambodia and South Korea Established KOPIA Center

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Public of Korea has established the “Korean Project for International Agriculture Center” (KOPIA) in Cambodia aiming to strengthen the good relation and cooperation between the two countries as well as to promote the development of the agricultural sector in Cambodia.

The signing ceremony of the KOPIA center was made between Dr. Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and Mr. Kim Jae Soo, Administrator of the Rural Development Administration of the Republic of Korea, under the presidency of Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhaily, Chairman of the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development and Lee Kyung Soo, Ambassador of Republic of Korea to Cambodia on April 12.

The Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhaily said that the signing ceremony of this memorandum at this time is a clear witness to the great relationship and cooperation between the two countries, Cambodia and Korea, linked by Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in 1997.

He added that the Republic of Korea has become an important partner country of Cambodia in terms of the tourism sector and investment in other sectors.

“The establishment of KOPIA in Cambodia in this time is of great value and meaning in terms of both economic and political aspects in promoting and building capacity of broader and more advanced research study and the development of the agricultural sector in order to contribute the development of the national economy and poverty reduction for Cambodian people,” he said before the signing ceremony of KOPIA.

H.E. Dr. Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that the bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and Korea in agricultural sector begun in 1996, and until recently Cambodia has received supports from on training and human rights resource development, voluntary experts on strengthening agricultural marketing and research, development support for Forestry Administration, General Directorate of Agriculture, and Department of Animal Health and Production.

Based on the Cambodian government’s rectangular strategy phase II, MAFF has enforced the most effective strategy through crop intensification and diversification to ensure sustainable development which has changed from a broader development approach to a more specific development approach, he said.

“At present, we are changing farmer’s attitude from being subsistence-oriented to business-oriented production by promoting market-service supports and ensuring stable price of crops produces,” he said. “Despite the 2008 global economic crisis agricultural sector in Cambodia remains the key player and a strong driving force supporting the Cambodian economy, and it has exited itself such as a crisis. As a result, agricultural sector could ensure sufficient foods for Cambodian people for more 14 million populations if the daily rice consumption is 143 kg/ head, and we have had rice surpluses since 1995 but we realized some food shortage in some places.”

The Minister said this year, indeed Cambodia’s cultivated rice areas accounted for 2.77 million hectares of land including 2.33 million hectares of wet season with average yield of 2.62 tone /hectares and 0.38 million hectares of dry season rice with national average yield of 4.12 tones/ hectare. He stated that in 2009, Cambodia’s total rice population reached 7.58 percent million tones with national average yield of 2.83 tone/ hectare, much higher than the average yield level one tone/ hectare during decade of the 1950s and 1960s.

“This year, the total rice population increased by 5.7 percent over last year, and we have a food balance of more than 2.24 million tones. Also, I would like to emphasize that in 2008, the crop population contributed about 53 percent, fisheries about 25 percent, animal production about 15.3 percent, forestry and production 6.6 percent of the total agricultural production,” he noted.

He added: We are realized that agricultural research and extension remain relatively limited if compared with some ASEAN countries and in the region. Under such situation, MAFF will continue to put a lot more efforts on research and extensions of agricultural technology through collaboration with the development partners and donors in the world and region.”

Relating to the establishment of the KOPIA, Dr. Chan Sarun said that is the witness that indicates the very strong supports and efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

“We strongly believe that this center will extensively boost agricultural research and extension in Cambodia which promotes Cambodia capacity to completely integrate its technology within ASEAN countries and in the region, especially in response to market demand and farmers’ need in accordance with million development goals,” he said.

On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to thank the Government of Korea, especially the Korea’s Rural Development Administration as well as Korean people who have supported to the establishment of this very important center towards development of Cambodian agriculture in order to contribute to reducing the poverty of rural people who comprises of about 80 percent of the population, he added.

Kim Jae-Soo, Administrator of the Korea’s Rural Development Administration (RDA), said the Korean Government is pleased to cooperate and working with Cambodian government in promoting the sustainable and social development and economic growth in Cambodia. He added that KOPIA will play a key role in providing and promoting and building capacity of broader and more advanced research studies and the development of the agricultural sector to contribute to the development of the national economy and poverty reduction in Cambodian. ///






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