Wed, 26 Jan 2022

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Lectured via video link by professors and technicians of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences in south China's Hainan province, a week-long course gathered more than 50 Cambodian agriculture students with standardized banana production technologies.

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Thoeun Sannikthik, a third-year student at the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Cambodia, was glad to be one of the participants in a Chinese-organized training workshop on standardized banana production technologies, saying that the course was very valuable for agriculture students.

Lectured via video link by professors and technicians of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences in south China's Hainan province, the week-long course, which concluded on Sunday, gathered more than 50 Cambodian students from the RUA and the Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture.

During the workshop, apart from learning theories, the trainees also went on a field trip to a banana orchard and three other tropical fruit farms in northeast Kratie province.

Sannikthik said the course focused on banana cultivation technology, identification of main diseases and insect pests, green prevention and control technology, post-harvest preservation, waste resource utilization, standardized construction of orchards and application of good agricultural practices.

"It's the first time I have attended such a training course that has provided both theoretical study and field trip to a banana orchard and three other farms of durian, dragon fruit and fragrant coconut in Kratie province," he told Xinhua on Sunday.

"The course covered almost the entire banana industry, ranging from planting, harvesting to post-harvest handling for exports," the 19-year-old student said. "I saw that the banana packaging facility has complied well with phytosanitary requirements."

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Sannikthik, who is currently studying in the major of agronomy, believed that with China's help, Cambodia's banana industry will grow bigger in the near future.

"I hope when graduating, I will have an opportunity to work with a banana company, so I can use my knowledge and expertise to practice at orchards and to share with other farmers," he said.

Ren Rithy, a graduate from the RUA, said the workshop's content is rich and practical that is very useful for agriculture learners.

"We have gained a lot of knowledge on standardized banana production technologies and standards for exporting bananas to China and other countries," he said. "After joining this course, I am really interested in growing bananas and hope to become an expert in the banana industry in the future."

Prof. Cheang Hong, dean of the RUA's Faculty of Agricultural Science, said it was the fifth training course since the Hainan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences signed a Tropical Agriculture Technology Cooperation Agreement with the RUA in 2017.

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"This course has importantly contributed to building human resources for Cambodia in the banana industry because it has provided knowledge to our students in both standardized planting techniques and phytosanitary requirements for export to the Chinese market," he told Xinhua.

Chen Qisheng, general manager of China Certification & Inspection Group (CCIC)'s Cambodian branch, said the workshop is crucial for Cambodia, where farmers account for more than two-thirds of the country's population.

He is confident that in coming years, more Cambodian high-quality agricultural products such as longan, dragon fruit, durian and fragrant coconut will be granted direct access to the Chinese market.

Banana is a Cambodian key agro product exported to international markets together with rice, rubber, cassava, and mango among others.

According to the Cambodian Agriculture Ministry, from January to November 2021, Cambodia shipped some 395,863 tons of fresh bananas to foreign markets, and China is the largest market for Cambodia's bananas by importing 349,656 tons, accounting for 88 percent of the country's total banana export.

Cambodia's banana exports have seen a substantial rise since 2019 after China allowed the country to export bananas directly to its market.

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