Over the course of 2023, Cambodia exported over 8,449,414 tonnes of agricultural products, marking a decrease of 1.9% compared to 2022.

The exports generated over $4.306 billion, with shipments of milled rice valued at over $567 million, unmilled paddy rice at $939 million and other agricultural products amounting to over $2.799 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The report detailed a diverse array of agricultural products included in the ‘other’ category, including 1.2 million tonnes of dried cassava chips, 1.9 million of fresh cassava, over 36,000 of cassava flour, more than 74,000 of cassava waste and upwards of 420,000 of cashew nuts. 

The export figures also highlighted over 71,000 tonnes of corn, exceeding 28,000 of catjang seeds and over 54,000 of soybean seeds. 

Fruit exports were substantial, with nearly 290,000 tonnes of fresh bananas, over 160,000 of fresh mangoes, more than 27,000 of dried mango and over 17,000 of fresh longans. 

Other exports included over 79,000 tonnes of palm oil, in excess of 6,000 of pepper and over 220 of assorted vegetables, culminating in nearly 540,000 tonnes across 100 different agricultural products.

“In 2023, farmers cultivated 554,210ha of dry season rice, approximately 111.25% of the planned 498,170ha. We implemented emergency rescue measures to encourage production, cultivation and animal rearing and they actively embraced these measures,” the ministry stated.

Hun Lak, director of Longmate Agriculture Co Ltd, which exports fresh bananas, mangoes and vegetables, said on January 7 that he observed positivity in the industrial sector in 2023, particularly in milled rice prices. 

He noted that rice prices improved throughout the year, pleasing farmers as they earned higher incomes compared to 2022.

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Regarding the decline in agricultural product exports, he believes this was not due to a drop in market demand but rather a decrease in the production volume of certain products like bananas, mangoes and palm oil, attributable to climate change. 

“Of course, as we all know that climate change, especially the El Nino effect, has impacted Cambodia. This led to prolonged drought in 2023, reducing crop output due to a lack of water and wetland. Harmful insects destroyed crops, rendering insecticides ineffective at managing them. However, market demand remained stable, with transport fees improving from 2022,” he said. 

He added that in the next four to five years, the sector is expected to improve further, particularly those products associated with food security, as the world faces challenges from climate change, earthquakes, storms, drought, floods and the Russia-Ukraine war, with Ukraine being a significant producer of wheat.

Chan Sokheang, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) – the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body – said the positive growth in milled rice exports was due to additional markets found through the efforts of the government, which cooperated closely with the private rice sector. 

He said the group would support the government’s aim of exporting one million tonnes of milled rice by finding untapped markets, adding that they were optimistic that the United Arab Emirates and Africa would accommodate around 100,000 tonnes.

The report added that farmers have cultivated 554,210ha of dry-season rice to date, or about 111.25% of the planned 498,170ha.