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Agro-food, agritourism in three provinces to get lift

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The project aims to provide a boost to agro-food and agritourism businesses in three provinces. Hong Menea

Agro-food, agritourism in three provinces to get lift

A UN and Swiss backed project that kicked off this month is set to give agro-food and agritourism businesses in three provinces a commercial edge, to underpin economic growth in their communities and help revitalise the greater tourism ecosystem in the post-Covid era, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official.

Department of Tourism Development Planning director Chuob Ratana told The Post on October 28 that the “Rehabilitation of enterprises in agro-food and -tourism” project would strengthen tourism supply chains and inject new vigour into the economy.

The endeavour will also increase resilience and promote recovery in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the agro-food and agritourism industries, and support employment, he said.

Set to engage 60 community-based tourism businesses and tour operators in Battambang, Pursat and Kampong Chhnang provinces, the initiative will provide training to drive up product and packaging standards, and beef up safety measures, Ratana said.

The project will be implemented by the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and funded by $1 million from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, he said.

Ratana noted that the project would be implemented for just one year, after which the provincial tourism departments and partner institutions are to continue the efforts initiated during the period, which he described as strategies for economic and tourism recovery meant to ensure that the industry is ready for the post-Covid era.

“What we expect on the part of the tourism sector is for it to ensure that operations in our target provinces are all set to welcome local and foreign tourists.

“When travellers arrive, we’ll have everything [ready], including the tourism and producer communities and tour operators,” Ratana said.

Ton Nay, a community representative, believes that the project will provide the necessary training to package community products in step with proper standards and techniques, leading to increased incomes and tourism prospects in the area.

With a focus on agricultural goods, fisheries and tourism services, the initiative aims to connect the communities with partners to sell their products and buy other items, he said.

“There are invaluable rewards in … bringing packaging up to standards and providing warm accommodations that earn the confidence of consumers,” Nay said.

“They [consumers] will become repeat visitors and inject income into our communities, to grow and prosper.”

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