– Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests,
– Beloved Professors and Students!
Today, I have an honor and great pleasure to join with all Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, professors, teachers, staffs and officials in this conferment of master degrees to the new graduates of the second, third, and fourth promotions and bachelor degrees to graduates of the eighteenth and nineteenth promotions of and in the formal inaugurating of the new building, a great donation from the people and government of the Republic of France, standing in front of us in this special occasion.
Today, we have a total number of 955 graduates including master, bachelor and diploma students who have passed the rather long-term training on technical science in agricultural sector and achieved fruitful outcomes that will receive the master degree of Agricultural and Economic Development as well as the bachelor degree on 8 subjects, namely agricultural science, science and animal medicine, forestry science, fishery science, technology and agricultural management, agricultural economy and rural development, agro-industry and land management, and land administration.
According to the report raised by H.E. Chan Nareth, Rector the Royal University of Agriculture, we can see that since 1985 until 2008 there is a total number of 3,242 students who have graduated and received proud results, which reflects the development in capacity building sector for supporting the growth in agriculture sector and other related sectors in our economy. These are the practical result that signifies the effort and commitment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and the officials, lecturers, and the management of the Royal University of Agriculture, especially the effort of the students themselves who have overcome all kinds of challenges during their study in order to succeed on the basis of their intelligence to follow the path of older generations under the leadership of the RGC. This also attests to human resource development in all sectors, especially in agriculture sector which is a priority of the current and previous governments.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf the RGC and on my own behalf, I would like to convey my profound gratitude to the MAFF, lecturers and officials of the Royal University of Agriculture, friend countries, national and international organizations who have effectively provided material, mental and technological support in order to enable this university to provide training programs on technical science aiming at rehabilitating and developing our socio-economy, especially at building necessary intellectual resources to deal with any effects and to benefit everyone’s living standard.
Based on the potential and experience of our country, the RGC identifies agriculture sector as the most prioritized sector of the economy, a main catalyst behind economic growth and source of huge employment for our people. In this sense, the key factor to push economic growth in agriculture sector is to promote productivity and yield through the supply of adequate infrastructure including irrigation system, electricity, appropriate techniques and technologies, provision of credit through micro-finance system, and access to domestic and international market, namely the modernization of agriculture sector by combining the two methods, that is agricultural extension and intensification at the same time. Due to the limited techniques, knowledge and know-how, short-term agricultural development in the early stage will rather rely on agricultural extension. In this sense, the adequate supply of infrastructural system and mine clearance are important means to distribute more land to our farmers. Furthermore, this measure will contribute significantly to our effort to deal with the unbalanced distribution of our population that mainly concentrates in the provinces and Phnom Penh.
At the same time, in the medium and long terms, the RGC will mobilize resources to push the development through agricultural intensification that will rely mainly on the use of modern techniques and technologies in order to increase yields on existing land. Productivity improvement through intensification will act as a key factor in the speedy economic development aiming at reducing poverty incidence, narrowing the gap between demand and supply as well as improving our competitive advantage to compete within the framework of regional and global trade. In this spirit, the RGC strongly believes that this agricultural development strategy will provide appropriate opportunity to Cambodian farmers to play an active role in the expansion of production and services, and as a result, our people will equitably benefit from the fruits of economic growth.
Indeed, the vision and policy for economic development, especially agriculture sector development as mentioned above, can be accomplished only if we have adequate human resources as well as the effective and proper use of those resources. In this cause, the RGC always pays strong attention to human resource development to create adequate intellectual resources in the country to accomplish our great mission of poverty reduction and assurance of Cambodia’s ability to compete in the future, meaning that human resource development is both a mean and a target.
We all know that to educate people and turn them into a wise, conscientious, and skilled human resource to better serve the society and quickly contribute to social development is a difficult task. We must make many sacrifices in term of resources, budget, material, energy, heart and mind, spirit and intelligence to materialize what we desire. Within that, buildings, classrooms and equipped facility for teaching and research are the basic needs for successful training process as a whole. In this sense, on behalf of the Royal Government, Cambodian people and myself, I would like to convey my profound and most sincere gratitude to the people and government of France for the construction of this valuable building in order to meet the above-mentioned needs and to strengthen and extend physical infrastructure of the Royal University of Agriculture which play an increasing role in developing competent human resources for agriculture sector in Cambodia. At the same time, I would also like to thank every cooperation and support of friend countries, development partners such as Japan, France, Australia, United States of America, Germany, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia for the sustainable operation of the university with quality since its inception.
To those graduates who will receive their degrees in a short moment, I would like to praise for their utmost efforts to successfully complete their studies. Today, it can be said that it is long-awaited historical day in the life of our beloved students; since it is the day they receive their degrees. So what’s for the wait and desire of such degrees? Indeed, I believe that these degrees are only the certification of the completion of studies or a certain level of training, but what even more important then that are the knowledge and talent being utilized for work or further studies and that are the true meaning of your waiting until today. In this sense, I would like to appeal that learning does not just end with a certificate, hence all graduates should always keep in mind that “You must learn to know, not just learn to pass” i.e. you should not learn just to pass exam, but rather to gain quality and value which are essence embedded in these degrees, and all the essence of hidden knowledge will clearly appear in your work after receiving these degrees. Taking this glorious opportunity, I would like to inform all graduates to constantly maintain and enrich their capacities further in terms of knowledge, know-how, talent, moral and ethic for your own benefit, as well as for your family and society.
At the same time, for the cause of promoting the education sector in Cambodia and developing human resource of quality to satisfy the needs of national development at the present and in the future, I would like to take this opportunity to provide some recommendations as follows:
First. The Royal University of Agriculture must pay attention on conducting research studies and establishing new specialty programs as required by the development of modern time.
Second. The Royal University of Agriculture must further promote the experiment and technology and scientific researches that are applicable to Cambodian context, especially those researches which contribute to solving practical issues in agriculture sector such as seeding, land fertility maintenance, usage of fertilizers and pesticides etc.
Third. Promote the publication, collection and wide dissemination of results of research studies conducted by the university as well as to apply those new findings aiming at increasing the productivity and efficiency through having close cooperation with all relevant government’s ministries, institutions and agencies.
Fourth. To further promote and encourage experimental research by students, professors and researchers of the university in order to enable them to fine-tune their researches. In addition, The Royal University of Agriculture must intensify their effort by keep seeking for technical and financial support from development partners, donor countries for adequate research fund.
Fifth. The Royal University of Agriculture must somehow absorb students form the provinces in order to make contribution to rural development, especially from remote communities because after graduation those students can go back and help their hometown.
Before closing, once again I would like to express my sincere compliment to the management, officials, and all professors of the Royal University of Agriculture as well as all ministries, institutions, development partners as well as private sector for their wholehearted effort in providing spiritual, material and financial supports for the cause of promoting human resource development in agriculture sector and general development in Cambodia which are the real and active contribution to poverty reduction of our people.
In closing, I would like to wish Your Venerable Monks, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen the 5 Gems of Buddhist Blessings. Let me now announce the official inauguration of this new building, a donation from France to the Royal University of Agriculture.