Rising domestic demand for local fishery products spurs government’s decision
THE government is set to reduce exports of fishery products by 20 percent this year in order to cater for rising domestic demand, an official has said.
Nao Thuok, director general of the General Department of Fishery Administration, told the Post on Sunday that this year Cambodia would export 24,000 tonnes of fishery products.
“We can catch a lot of fish, but our population has risen too. That was why we have to reduce exports of fishery products,” said Nao Thuk.
Representatives from the Fishery Administration declined to reveal the scale of domestic demand on Sunday.
In March, the General Department of Fishery Administration reported that last year Cambodia exported 30,000 tonnes of fishery products – which include fish, lobster, sea crab and shrimp.
In 2008, only 5,000 tonnes were exported.
Last year’s exports earned Cambodia US$30 million as products entered markets in Australia, the USA, China, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Increasing exports have, in the past, echoed a rise in production.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that in 2009 Cambodia harvested a total of 515,000 tonnes of fishery products, compared to 431,000 tonnes the previous year.
Commentators from thenongovernmental organisation (NGO) community have praised the government’s decision.
Chhit Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said Sunday that cutting back on exports of fishery products is of vital importance as demand from the Kingdom’s domestic population rises.
He said that catering for the Kingdom’s population before setting export amounts would ensure food security in the future.
“The government is clearly aware of local demand,” he said.
Nao Thuk said that Cambodia, which has rich resources of freshwater and sea fish, would be able generate revenue between $40 million and $60 million per year from exports if local demand were not accounted for.