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A farmer waters a vegetable crop at a Chroy Changvar farm earlier this year in Phnom Penh.
A farmer waters a vegetable crop at a Chroy Changvar farm earlier this year in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Ministry sees export market growing

Cambodia's total agricultural production was down slightly last year while a larger share of this production went to exports, the Ministry of Agriculture said in its annual report, released yesterday.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Ty Sokhun, secretary of state at the ministry, said the Kingdom’s total agricultural production had been projected to grow by 5 per cent last year, but ended up down by 1 per cent.

He said despite a decline in output, production yields – deemed critical to the sector’s future – were increasing.

“The rate of increase is still low since the cost of production remains high,” he said.

“The other key challenge is that the market price on agricultural products is still low and volatile.”

Total exports of agricultural products topped 4.1 million tonnes in 2015, a 20-per cent increase over the previous year, according to the annual report.

Sokhun said that Cambodian farmers managed to diversify their export portfolio last year, shipping 66 different kinds of agricultural products, 19 more than in 2014.

The two biggest exports by tonnage were cassava and rice, which accounted for 68 per cent and 13 per cent of total export volume, respectively.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sokhon said the ministry’s goal is to increase exports of processed agricultural products to at least 12 per cent of total exports by 2025.

“To do this, we must promote competition in the domestic market and export our products to regional and international markets while reducing reliance on imports,” he said.

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