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Philippines and Cambodia exploring MoU

The Philippines is looking to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Cambodia to explore opportunities to work together on aquaculture and the rice sector, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The MoU will see the two countries working to exchange information and experience on fisheries, aquaculture and the rice sector, said Eang Sophallet, spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries yesterday.

“In a recent meeting between the two agriculture ministers, the signing of the MoU on agriculture cooperation was discussed,” he said.

“Through it, the two countries will exchange information, knowledge and experience in regards to the agriculture sector . . . [and] on fisheries, aquaculture and rice too,” he added.

A working group has been formed to discuss the details of the MoU, which is expected to be signed this year, reported Filipino social news network Rappler on Tuesday.

Proceso Alcala, secretary of the Philippines Department of Agriculture, who met with Cambodian Agriculture Minister Ouk Rabun in Phnom Penh on March 25, told Rappler that by creating links with Cambodia and other Southeast Asian neighbours, the Philippines aimed to improve food security and economic development ahead of the upcoming ASEAN economic community.

Cambodia is one of three countries to have a rice procurement agreement with the Filipino government, but only Vietnam and Thailand have successfully bid to export their rice to the country, with Cambodia failing a second time to win a bid last September.

“Cambodia could eventually succeed in bidding for future Filipino rice tenders, should the tenders be segregated into smaller orders tonnage wise, but we still need to improve our shipping cost and services plying Filipino ports from Cambodia or via transhipment in Vietnam,” said David Van, adviser to the Cambodia Rice Federation.

Van added, however, that Cambodian agricultural products had good potential in the Philippines and could help the natural-disaster prone country diversify its food sources.

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