Agriculture remains the most important sector of the Cambodian economy in terms of its share of the gross domestic product (GDP), and it employs the vast majority of the workforce. Rice is Cambodia’s major crop, its principal food, and, in times of peace, its most important export commodity. Rice is grown on most of the country’s total cultivated land area.
Rice is a staple in the Cambodian diet, whether it’s eaten for breakfast, dinner or a simple snack. Therefore, it comes as little surprise that the country grows some of the world’s finest rice.
Step out of the city and you’ll find evidence of Cambodians’ passion for rice everywhere. The countryside is a patchwork quilt of rice fields, with agriculture being one of the country’s main economic pillars (contributing at least 23 percent of its total gross domestic product).
The majority of rural families in Cambodia have small paddies, surrounding their wooden stilt houses that pepper the countryside. They grow enough rice to see their family through the year, storing the grains in homemade shelters.
These humble crops can be contrasted with large-scale farming for export and sale, involving years of rigorous testing to achieve the perfect grain. For the past three years, Cambodian rice has been internationally-recognised as the best rice on the planet.