Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on February 16 asked the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) to motivate European companies to ramp up orders of Cambodian agricultural products.
This comes in light of unremarkable export figures from the sector, even as the government steps up promotion of the products.
The minister’s proposal was made during a meeting with newly appointed EuroCham president Tassilo Brinzer, who led a delegation to the ministry.
Sakhon made a presentation to the delegates on the progress of the agricultural sector in the context of the global spread of Covid-19, stressing that Cambodia has ensured food security and is actively pushing for exports – especially to China, South Korea and the EU.
Notable target agricultural commodities include milled rice, peppercorn, cassava chips, processed cashew nuts, yellow bananas, Keo Romiet mangoes and their syrup, according to the minister.
“For the European market, apart from milled rice, the volume of other agricultural exports seemingly remains at low levels,” he said.
Addressing Brinzer, the minister added: “I implore you as the new president to review and consider Cambodian crop products so that the Kingdom can export greater amounts to the European market.”
Sakhon said the ministry is looking forward to cooperating with EuroCham to jointly maintain a healthy investment climate in the Cambodian agricultural and agribusiness sectors.
Brinzer vowed to strengthen and deepen cooperation between EuroCham and the ministry to jointly develop the Kingdom’s agricultural industry now and down the line.
Even in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, he highlighted the government’s efforts, through the ministry, to stabilise economic fluctuations in the sector – even achieving remarkable growth, provide food security and boost exports.
He said the EU will continue to work with the government and the ministry to drive up agricultural production by integrating new capabilities and technologies as market demand dictates, as well as expanding agricultural processing and human resource training – in a way that is consistent with climate change prevention and inclusivity objectives – to ensure the Kingdom retains its competitive edge.
Cambodia exported a total of 203,485 tonnes of seven major cash crops last month – namely milled rice, natural rubber, corn, cashew nuts, peppercorn, as well as fresh bananas, chillies and mangoes, the ministry reported.
Preliminary ministerial estimates show that the Kingdom exported more than 8.55 million tonnes of agricultural products last year – through formal and informal channels – worth more than $2.32 billion.
At the top of the list were cassava, cashew nuts, Pailin longan, peppercorn, as well as fresh mangoes and bananas.