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Challenges as Kingdom heads for Industry 4.0

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Farmers use a farming machine to harvest in their rice field in Battambong Province. Heng Chivoan

Challenges as Kingdom heads for Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution opens an opportunity for some countries. However, it also provides challenges to others, such as Cambodia where people still rely heavily on agriculture for their livelihood.

While it is becoming a new trend for Cambodians to prepare for international competition, economists say the country still has many challenges to adapt to.

Last year, around 40 per cent of Cambodians worked in the agricultural sector, said the Ministry of Agriculture.

The ministry’s statistics point out that many Cambodians could potentially lose their jobs as the country starts to incorporate automation in its agriculture sector in its push to embrace Industry 4.0.

It refers to the development of advanced technologies such as robotics, biotechnology, modernisation of telecommunications and production management among others.

Under secretary of State at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Pheng Sokham, said on Sunday at a seminar entitled Industry 4.0 Productivity in the Digital Age that the rapid growth of technology required all institutions and companies to strive for flexibility in every circumstance.

“Industry 4.0 requires Cambodia to set up new policies and strategies to cope with challenges and take advantage of current technological developments,” said Sokham.

He said human resource development is crucial for Cambodia’s economic growth. If Cambodia wants to be part of Industry 4.0, it must nurture its youth and help them become highly skilled workers.

“Cambodia has a lot of young people and we believe that [the country] could boost its productivity,” he said.

United Nations Development Programme Cambodia country director Nick Beresford said the industrial revolution is changing work habits through the use of new technologies.

“Cambodia needs to seize the advantages of these growth opportunities to ensure it can benefit from the progress of Industrial Revolution 4.0,” he said.

Centre for Policy Studies director Chan Sophal said Cambodia remains weak in human resources, infrastructure and technology.

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