– Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
– Your Excellencies Ambassadors and Representatives from Development Partners;
– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;
– Beloved Teachers, Students and Compatriots:
I am very pleased and honored today to joint in this inauguration ceremony of physical infrastructure of our Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and me personally, I am very please to see various outcomes as well as progress in the field of agriculture after our country has closed a dark chapter in our past history. All these achievements are important contributions of the CARDI and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in enhancing livings of farmers, improving yields leading to increase of paddy stock year by year to contribute in maintaining a balanced economic growth, promoting country progress and poverty reduction of Cambodian people.
I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in supporting the CARDI through Asian Development Bank’s project loan. In fact, all these projects have attained many fruitful outcomes such as the one that we all inaugurating at this time; putting for official use physical infrastructures in order to facilitate research by technical personal and science development in agricultural sector, the infrastructure include the irrigation system, water sources as well as congregating modern agricultural technique to improve yields and agricultural diversification to increase rural incomes.
In addition, I would also like to thanks key development partners, for instance, the government and people of Australia via AUSAID, Australia Center for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR), CIDA, KOICA, Rockefeller McKnight Foundation, IRRI, Japan International Research Center for Agriculture Science (JIRCAS), Japanese, Chinese and Indian governments and other development partners such as ADB, international organizations, NGOs, private sectors and farmers as well for working together for the past years to develop agricultural sector in Cambodia.
Particularly, I appreciate the managements and staffs of Cambodia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) that have exerted their maximum effort of their strength, talent and experiences to attain such achievement for the nation.
H.E. Chan Sarun, Minister of MAFF, presented on achievements made by CARDI and the success of ADB’s project loan for development of key physical facilities for conducting research such as Administrative Building, Research Building, Tree Selection Building, Training Center, Dormitory, Green House, Irrigation system, fence, entrance paved road and other facilities at “ Koh Keh” Agriculture Research and Development Center that is a supplementary center in Preah Vihear province.
I am extremely proud of these achievements, as I remember of inaugurating this Institute on 21 November 2000 to response to the demand for agriculture research. I have advised the MAFF to use ADB’s project loan for constructing international standard facilities for the Institute.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to recall the establishment of CARDI. Due to the fact that agriculture research is important for national development, I initiated the establishment of Agriculture Research Institute in 1986. At that time, I requested Dr. Swaminathan, former Director of IRRI, for support since after the Khmer Rough regime Cambodia was short of scientists in agricultural research and development. However, the institute was established in Vietnam to provide services to Indochinese countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao due to the fact that Vietnam is a heavily populated country.
Nevertheless, because of my request and clear understanding of Cambodia situation, in 1987, a multi-lateral cooperation was established among Cambodia, Australia and IRRI leading to setting up of CARDI by sub-degree No. 74 on 16 August 1999.
Since then, CARDI fulfills its missions and made many significant achievements, especially has implemented and attainted food safety and security, protected national resources and environment, improved techniques and agriculture science in order to create jobs and stimulate efficient and equitable economic growth aiming at achieving Cambodia Millennium Development Goals.
At the same time, I would like to congratulate the institute for having a good cooperation with local and international agriculture research and development partners using government budget and for seeking various research projects for implementation and achieving good outcomes.
The actual outcome in 2005, paddy rice in Cambodia grew at the rate of 2.4%, it is sufficient and the excess were exported leading to 13.4% of economic growth, in which agriculture sector grew at 17.3%; in that year, rice production hit its record. At the same time, the above achievement was contributed by research and development in agricultural technology, in this context there is a view that “without research there will be no development”.
Indeed, to follow this view we must focus on adopting a comprehensive strategy for the whole agriculture sector including irrigation, water resource and the concentration on intensification, plantation to increase rural production and income through crops diversification, improving fishery management, sustainable management of forestry resource through large scale reform, environmental conservation and the implementation of land reform, especially, ensuring secured land titling for the poor, improving road infrastructure and promoting human resource’s capacity. Meanwhile, the strengthening of good governance is vital for enhancing Agro-business in Cambodia. Without any doubt, the most important aspect of these works is to redirect aid strategy toward the rural poor through innovation at the local level.
The Royal Government’s long-term vision has been closely linked to the Millennium Development Goals whereas agricultural development has been set as one of the objective in the Rectangular Strategy. The effective implementation and achievement of this vision has provided Cambodia with the opportunity to make progress toward modern development and prosperity in a very near future based on our confidence that we will overcome every obstacle and ensure a strong growth in the long-run as well as ensuring equitable distribution of fruits from this growth. In this sense, Cambodia’s agriculture sector development will grow at a similar phase with that of more-developed countries in the region and will be able to ensure a sustainable use of Cambodian natural resources in order to provide benefits for every Cambodian citizen to make a decent living with dignity, and to ensure progress, prosperity, happiness and prestige in the Cambodian society.
Recently, during my official visit to Australia, the Australian government has shown its friendship and willingness in enhancing the relationship and using aids for the development of agriculture sector in Cambodia to make it grow faster through the building of infrastructure and institutions for the long-run and developing human resource which is important and always the priority in the development of agriculture sector in Cambodia.
In this situation, I believe that the opportunities as mentioned above will provide significant contribution in participating and further improving the public understanding of agriculture research which can ensure a sustainable development of agriculture sector in Cambodia, especially, ensuring food security and agricultural surplus both in quality and quantity for export to the international markets.
Indeed, this particular type of enormous benefit has received very close attentions from all related parties such as government institutions, national and international communities, private sector and farmers. At the same time, we must continue to try and pay a very close attention to all the work in this sector to achieve fruitful outcomes from these researches for the benefits of farmers as well as the national economy which could help to push forward the Royal Government’s objectives with hope, success and optimism.
Taking this very important opportunity, I would like to provide some recommendations for improving the farmers’ living standards as well as for the development of agriculture sector as follows:
1 – The Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry and the Ministry of Economy and Finance which are the parents of the Cambodia Institute for Agriculture Research and Development must promote and further support the investment on agriculture researches because without research there will be no development. Meanwhile, we must also consider providing financial resources for officials, employees who work in this research institute as an incentive for scientific research and technological development. By doing so, we can manage human resource with high capacity, professionalism and responsibility as well as creating the willingness and effort to participate.
2 – We must continue to focus on researches and other important activities which are meant to improve agricultural production to be efficient with the master plan. In order to apply the theories, the agriculture students must modify the study curriculum and their research focusing on issues faced on fields. It needs to push forward by all means and widely extend and promote agriculture techniques to all farmers and agriculture development communities aim to boost agriculture output both in quantity and quality to meet domestic and export demand.
3 – MAFF and CARDI need to work together with provincial and municipal authorities in order to expand the facility of research network also establish complementary institution. Whereas, O Ta Vout Agriculture Research and Development Center in Pailin needs to be reassured its continue operation.
4 – Phnom Penh municipality and Doung Kour district need to collaborate and provide security and safety to CARDI to fulfill its research activities and ensure that the institution is getting electricity and clean water.
5 – I would like to appeal to international donor communities and other development partners to continue support CARDI to have capacity to reinforce research activities and develop agriculture sector, this will contribute to achieve: (1). Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government, (2) National Strategic Development Plan (2006-2010) and (3) Agriculture Strategic Development Plan and Master Plan for Agricultural Research (2006-2010).
6 – CARDI must reinforce and expand agriculture research activities, especially in high yield seed selection, sustainable land improvement and efficient agriculture techniques. At the same time, the institution has to expand and broaden its collaboration with all research institution nationally and internationally to exchange and share experiences and come together to resolve and help develop agricultural sector to further progress.
Finally, I would like to wish you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, students and faculty members with the five gems of Buddhist Blessings. With joy and proud of these accomplishments, I declare the official use of the facilities at the Cambodia Agricultural Research and Development Institute.