Shetty Thombathu, chief technical adviser to the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said the UN agency and the Fisheries Administration (FiA) under Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries are collaborating to ensure that the Kingdom’s fisheries products meet EU regulations and standards for access to the European market.

Thombathu made the statement during the opening ceremony of an event for post-harvest fisheries enterprises benefiting from the CAPFISH project, held at the ministry on September 17.

He further emphasised the importance of entering the high-end market, highlighting the growing demand for Cambodian products in supermarkets and upscale establishments.

These products carry the Cambodia Quality Seal (CQS), signifying their adherence to high-quality standards.

UNIDO and FiA are actively working towards facilitating the entry of the Cambodian fisheries products into EU markets.

The implementation of the CAPFISH project serves as a pivotal step in advancing the nation’s fisheries products, ensuring they meet the necessary standards for successful promotion and support.

“We need to work together to make this dream come true. Our dream is to have Cambodian products available in the EU market,” he said.

FiA director-general Poum Sotha said that within the framework of CAPFISH, collaborative post-harvest fisheries development projects have been undertaken over a span of five years, from 2019 to 2024.

This initiative has enhanced the competitiveness of domestic fisheries products, promoted food safety and fostered growth within the private fisheries sector.

“The primary achievement of the project lies in creating a legal framework for food safety and equipping authorities with the capacity to implement an inspection system aligned with global food safety standards,” he said.

Through this project, the FiA has successfully finalised and introduced the CQS scheme, ensuring product quality and safety aligned with food safety principles.

Concurrently, the project has played a pivotal role in aiding the private sector in enhancing its operations to meet these standards and compete effectively in a market faced with technical challenges, processing demands and the need for standardised hygiene practices.

Ministry spokesperson Im Rachna underscored the significance of packaging, which she said could hinder the export of fisheries products to the European market. She highlighted the EU’s strong emphasis on environmental concerns and advocated against the use of plastic for product packaging.

Rachna suggested transitioning from plastic packaging to an alternative that preserves product quality, presents an appealing appearance and aligns with European policies.

The ministry, in collaboration with UNIDO, initiated a study tour and dissemination event for post-harvest fisheries enterprises that are reaping the benefits of the CAPFISH project. This event took place on September 17 within the ministry’s premises.

The study tour, scheduled from September 17 to September 20 in Phnom Penh as well as the provinces of Kandal, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap, serves the dual purpose of providing educational information on business development, food safety principles and private sector advancement.

Additionally, it seeks to disseminate details about the successful execution of the project conducted by the FiA and UNIDO, including the implementation of food safety requirements and certification processes, aimed at raising public awareness of the vital messages and benefits of food safety.