The Wildlife Friendly Ibis Rice program has been extended to the village of Kompong Veang, in Kompong Thom Province. Ten farmers have volunteered to join an experimental growing project, comparing malis rice seed with the rice traditionally grown in the area, romdoul. The village marketing network is in the process of being organized and several local NGOs are working together to spread the word about linking improved farming incomes with wildlife conservation. The site is located within one of the Bengal Florican Consevation Areas (BFCAs).
Sales of Ibis Rice have seen growth more than double over the same time last year. Sales to individuals in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are increasing, through more shops and super markets. Initial talks with a rice exporter were conducted in Siem Reap in October. Increased working capital will be required to scale up to meet export demand, early talks reveal.
In the Preah Vihear pilot villages, response to the project has been positive with many farmers who did not qualify to sell SMP their rice last year planning to improve their 'performance.' VMN members also learned lessons on procurement and wildlife certification that will be valuable in the future.