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Potatoes to take root in Cambodia, starting in Mondulkiri

Dr. Cheang Hong of the Royal University of Agriculture

Cambodia’s eastern Mondulkiri province will become the country’s first hub for potato growing after a successful pilot project, researchers say.

Cheang Hong of the Potato Research Center at the Royal University of Agriculture, said a team spent several months studying weather conditions, potato varieties and farming.

Mr. Hong said some varieties need cool weather while some need warm weather. They identified Mondulkiri as the best place to plant.

He said potatoes could offer a yield in three months, and during the pilot program six metric tons were grown in a farm of less than one hectare.

Mr. Hong said the project confirmed that potatoes can be grown in Cambodia, however the researchers were putting more effort into finding varieties to grow in provinces other than Mondulkiri.

The researchers are looking for varieties to grow in warmer climate provinces such as Battambang, Preah Vihear and Pursat.

Cheang Hong of the Potato Research Center at the Royal University of Agriculture:

“To find a proper potato variety to grow in both cool and warm weather provinces will take another three years.”
Researchers brought around 24 varieties of potato from Germany, South Korea and Peru. A few were suitable for the Cambodian climate.

The researchers say potatoes could replace rice because they contain all the vitamins, and the yield of potatoes is higher.

They say potatoes could yield to about 18 metric tons per hectare and sell for 3,000 riels per kilo.

Mr. Hong said growing potatoes would be a challenge for farmers because they are not experienced with this kind of crop, and there has yet to be any research on potato-growing in Cambodia.

Ngo Bunthan, rector of the Royal University of Agriculture, said the potato market in Cambodia is huge because Cambodians and expats consume a lot of them.

Ngo Bunthan, rector of the Royal University of Agriculture:

“In the past, we have not had the varieties and farmers had no experience in growing potatoes. Now it’s different and we hope to have them grown in Cambodia.”

“We worked with the agriculture department and farmers in Mondulkiri and now we are searching for a better variety which offers the best quality, high yields and is suitable for our climate.”