Camboya: Cambodia identifies best locations for potato cultivation
In Cambodia, researchers at the Potato Research Centre at the Royal University of Agriculture last week announced that five provinces and the capital itself will become the country’s hub for potato growing after successful tests of a range of potato
The six locations were selected for testing were the university, Kampong Chhang, Battambang, Tboung Khmum, Pursat and Mondulkiri provinces.
Var Sophal, researcher at the Potato Research Centre at the Royal University of Agriculture said that after three months of testing, Pursat, Battambang, and Mondulkiri are deemed most suitable for growing potatoes. These locations offered marketable yields of up to 17 to 20 tons per hectare while the other locations offered yields of under 17 tons per hectares due to their climate and soil. The potato growing season lasted three months, starting from November.
Sophal said that of 17 varieties brought from Thailand, Vietnam, Germany and Ireland, the Tornado, Madeira, Concordia, Julinka, Jelly, Electra and Fandango varieties showed good results. The two year trials show as well that certified seed of good quality is crucial for performance.
Potatopro.com quoted Sophal as saying: “Cambodia imports more than 5,000 tons of potatoes a year from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Australia and America. The reason we are pushing potato cultivation is that so many potatoes available in Cambodia are imported. This is a concern for us. Why can other countries grow them and we cannot? We are an agricultural country.”
Gunter Riethmacher, country director of the German agency GIZ, said potatoes were commonly found in Cambodian dishes as a garnish, in soups and in many fast food restaurants.
Riethmacher: “Potatoes have huge potential for Cambodia. It is good for Cambodia to bring and grow more potatoes to generate income for the people. What we are trying to do is provide technical training to the private sector and to the university, to screen the best varieties for the local conditions. There are many varieties for different soil, climate, water situation. We have to select the right varieties for the right provinces and location so that farmers can get the best output.”