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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM pushes edible exports

PM pushes edible exports

120515_07

An employee of Khmer Brewery, the producer of Cambodia Beer, looks inside brewing equipment at the company's facility outside Phnom Penh. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday urged Cambodian food and beverage companies to look to export markets.

The call, made at the opening ceremony of the Khmer Brewery, came in the wake of similar exhortations from international organisations for Cambodia to diversify its exports.

“Now, we are not only expanding our locally made products in the domestic market. We have to promote export products and beverage abroad,” Hun Sen said. “The big problem for us is to make sure that we what produce is good quality and affordable at that segment of the market.”

In 201, the food and beverage industry contributed about US$1 billion to gross domestic product, 40 per cent of it from the brewing industry.

Khmer Brewery, one of six breweries in the country, planned to export its Cambodia Beer brand, company chairman Leang Khun said yesterday.

“We will soon start exporting Cambodia Beer to developed countries such as Japan, the US and the European Union,” he said.

The $60 million local investment has produced beer since late last year.

Yesterday was the official opening of the factory, which is located in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.

Ngov Heng Fish Sauce Cambodia exported its sauce to the US until 2009 when the company ran into some capital constraints, owner Chan Sitha said yesterday.

He said more government support was needed for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to succeed on the international market.

“We did not have any problem with our exports to [the US] in terms of quality, something that was recognised as being good. But, the problem for us was the money. This business takes time and more money,” Chan Sitha said. “Of course, I plan to resume my exports but now I need to seek more capital. The government should help us if they want SMEs to export more.”

General director at the Men Sarun Mee Yeung noodle factory Linh Thorn told the Post earlier this year that his factory would look to export to the United States and Europe in the near future.

Cambodia’s domestic food and beverage industry was strong, Suy Sem, the Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, said at yesterday's ceremony.

When the country’s garment industry was ailing during the global financial crisis in 2009, the value of the food and beverage industry had continued to rise, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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