PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – 30 December 2020 – Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has reset fundamental assumptions underpinning various industries. In Cambodia, environmental conservation is now an important feature in recovery efforts for the agriculture sector, and Neak Oknha Chen Zhi (陈志公爵) and Prince Group are spearheading change in the sector.
Agriculture is a mainstay in Cambodia employing more than a third of the workforce, and the current crisis is an important moment for the sector as it faces an opportunity to “build back better”, according to CGIAR, the world’s largest agricultural research network.
Developing countries like Cambodia depend on agricultural exports and need to move away from traditional farming practices that utilize fertilizers, pesticides, water-intensive processes and legacy farming methods that contribute to increased deforestation and soil erosion.
Earlier this year, Chen Zhi and Prince Group launched the Ecological Agriculture Plantation at Prince Manor Resort in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a state-of-the-art agricultural hub at a new real estate development that will implant the seed for change and give Cambodians a chance to learn modern farming techniques. The Ecological Agriculture Plantation is one of the key attractions at Prince Manor Resort, an international eco-resort spanning 136,000 square meters that was officially launched in October.
At the resort, visitors will see sustainable agricultural practices and how modern technology is employed and managed by international and Cambodian agriculture experts. For example, the 10,000-square meter plantation has a 24-hour intelligent monitoring system that controls humidity, temperature, sunlight, carbon dioxide and more. It also has state-of-the-art reverse osmosis water filtration and intelligent water and fertilizer integrated systems. The resort also houses a greenhouse where flora and fauna suitable for local conditions are grown utilizing resources from the region.
The plantation will serve as an educational tool for visiting students, families and other stakeholders. As a responsible corporate conglomerate, Chen Zhi and Prince Group launched the resort to support the long-term development of the local tourism and agriculture industries in Cambodia.
With nearly nine-tenths of the resort consisting of forested land, Prince Manor Resort will also serve as a model for sustainable development efforts in Cambodia’s fast-growing economy. Other facilities at the resort include flower gardens, an amusement park, a water park and several lodges.
Even before the pandemic, farmer incomes in Cambodia had been hit by extreme weather that led to floods and droughts, and drop in prices of key agriculture commodities like paddy rice, cassava and other vegetables as well as declining soil productivity. This year, a survey conducted by a local consultancy found that farming incomes are estimated to have dropped by 55% in the first four months of the year.
The construction of the Ecological Agriculture Plantation by Chen Zhi and Prince Group is a small but important step to help the agriculture sector in Cambodia. The plantation will facilitate visits and discussions helping drive further collaboration between industry bodies, the government and private enterprises in Cambodia.
Chen Zhi and Prince Group will continue to play an important part in Cambodia’s development through various projects, pursue partnership opportunities and offer relevant financial support to key industries for the betterment of Cambodians and the local economy.