22 - November - 2011

Overview In August 1999, the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) was officially established as a semi-autonomous institute. Under sub-decree 74 it became a fully-fledged legal entity under the management of a director who reports to a government appointed board of directors. CARDI was designed to be autonomous in relation to its personnel, and physical and financial management. The Institute became operational at the beginning of 2000 with a professional staff of just over 40 employees, including some who were just completing postgraduate training abroad. At this time, a majority of CARDI’s staff were transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Agronomy and Agricultural Land Improvement and Department of Agricultural Engineering. Although CARDI’s history may seem somewhat recent it has, in fact, evolved from the 12-year AusAID funded Cambodia-IRRI-Australia Project (CIAP) and the purchase of 70 hectares of land at the Prateah Lang Commune, Dangkor District, 20 kilometres south of Phnom Penh by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC). CIAP and the RGC stand out as the two major bodies responsible for the creation of CARDI, despite the contributions of other donors who also helped with the development of facilities and provided some technical assistance. The primary goal of CIAP, prior to the establishment of CARDI, was focusing mainly on food security through increased rice production. Since that has been achieved, and too after CARDI has been established, the focus has directed to crop diversification and quality. CARDI’s mission of “Technology for Prosperity” is based on an analysis of how the agricultural sector in Cambodia is expected to evolve in the future. CARDI’s vision of how it will respond to the future operational environment and achieve their mission has the following features:
  • Assist the RGC to achieve its rural development objectives,
  • Focus on applying technology with major impacts on poverty alleviation and living standards,
  •  Deliver high quality, highly valued research and development services,
  • Work in partnership with extension, NGO and private sector agencies to increase the impact of improved technologies,
  • Improve its capacity to deliver quality research and development services that meet client needs,
  • Apply a business-like approach to its operation, and
  • Promote the impact and value of research for the development of Cambodia.
CARDI inherited an on-going research program from CIAP, mainly concerned with rice production. It has already started broadening the base of its research programs to include other agricultural commodities. While CARDI recognises that diversification of its research portfolio is a key step in assisting the Royal Government of Cambodia achieve its rural development objectives, the precise nature of CARDI’s future research portfolio will be determined through a national agriculture research priority setting and funding process. As well as diversification of CARDI’s research profile into other crops the focus may shift from yield to an increased emphasis on quality, including post-harvest technology and practices. CARDI could well become a key provider of national priority research, contract research, technology packaging, training, consultancy and quality seed in Cambodia and further abroad. Working towards that point CARDI has already adopted a partnership approach to enhance its ability to provide the range and quality of agricultural research and development services required for the future.
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