The Kampong Chhnang province in Cambodia is hosting a two-day Seed Festival starting today, with the aim of preserving traditional seed varieties at the local level and disseminating natural farming techniques to promote agriculture. The festival is being attended by more than 600 participants, including farmers, fishermen, small-scale food producers, indigenous peoples and communities, as well as associations and related organisations working in Cambodia.
This is the third Seed Festival in the country, with the first one organised in Siem Reap province in collaboration with communities from 20 provinces in 2020, and the second one organised under the Ministry of Land Management in Battambang province last year. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Together to Preserve Khmer Ancient Seeds and National Identity.’
The festival aims to distribute traditional crop seeds and educate the new generation of farmers about the importance of reduced use of chemical fertilisers, which can affect the quality of the soil. Binh Ath, president of Stung Khsach Sor Forestry Resource Community in Kampong Chhnang province, highlighted that most new farmers do not pay much attention to traditional crops and often spend a lot of money buying seeds and chemical fertilisers by taking bank loans.
She added that self-preservation will have many benefits, including providing a natural agricultural product that does not affect health and can also maintain national identity.
Supporting the initiative of the local communities, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Loek Sothear, said, “If the communities preserve rice seeds and other vegetable crops, it will help them to get high yields.” The Ministry of Agriculture also helps farmers with seed selection techniques and has officials from the department of rice and other crops to assist farmers as a whole.
Preserving traditional seed varieties is crucial for ensuring food security, biodiversity and sustainability. The Kampong Chhnang Seed Festival is a significant step towards achieving these goals and promoting natural farming techniques.