More than 2,000 farming households are now participating in the IBIS project, which supports organic paddy rice production, forest conservation, and wildlife protection in Cambodia, according to Keo Socheat, executive director of the Sansom Mlup Prey Organisation (SMP). The project operates in Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, and Mondulkiri provinces and sees planting begin in June in several wildlife sanctuaries. By planting organic rice, which does not use pesticides or chemical fertilisers, the initiative helps save wildlife. Participants must curtail activities like hunting or clearing forest land and can be removed from the scheme if they repeatedly breach the agreement.
IBIS farmers produce world-class organic rice which is purchased at a higher-than-market price, thus improving their livelihoods. Besides rice production training, the benefits of the project include a clear market with high prices, forest and wildlife protection, and climate change mitigation. Doung Taingkou, project coordinator for SMP in Preah Vihear, noted that the more people who join the project, the better the future sustainability of forest and wildlife conservation will be. The selection of new IBIS farmers will conclude by May-end, and interested families are encouraged to contact their nearest project coordinator for more information.