Cambodia exported nearly three million tonnes of agricultural products to international markets in the first three months of this year, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report said on Wednesday.
Its exports consisted mainly of rice, cassava, pepper, rubber, cashew nuts, corn, yellow bananas, soybean, vegetables and tobacco.
Rice exports amounted to 230,948 tonnes during the period, up 35.20 per cent year-on-year.
China was the biggest market for the crop, accounting for 43.88 per cent of exports, followed by the EU at 30.33 per cent, Asean at 12.47 per cent and other destinations at 13.32 per cent.
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Wednesday that rice exports have maintained steady growth despite the ongoing pandemic.
“The growth of rice exports can be attributed to increases in global food demand as consumers panic over the novel coronavirus outbreak and stocked up on food items,” Yeng said.
Last year, the Kingdom exported 80 tonnes of Kampot pepper, one of the Kingdom’s top Geographical Indication (GI) products, or about 20 tonnes more than in 2018, Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) president Nguon Lay told The Post on Wednesday.
“We saw an increase in exports last year as [the Kingdom] expanded to the South Korean market. Our farmers are currently busy harvesting pepper. I expect a harvest yield of around 100 tonnes for the 2020 season.
“However, today about 20 farmers decided to cease their cultivation and harvest due to the lack of a market,” Lay said.
He said the KPPA currently has 38 partner companies to export pepper to international markets.
The price of Kampot pepper remains at $15 per kg for black pepper, $25 for red pepper, and $28 for white pepper.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday called for additional measures to fortify the agricultural sector in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have to be prepared to implement economic measures [to curb the] adverse effects of the coronavirus, which could continue for a long time.
“[We need] to strengthen the agricultural sector, which is Cambodia’s greatest strength, and especially the supply of food necessities for the country – such as rice and salt,” he said.
On Monday, the government temporarily suspended the export of white rice and paddy from 11:59pm on April 5 to ensure adequate domestic supply, food security and price stability in the Kingdom during the outbreak.
Last year, Cambodia exported more than 5.4 million tonnes of agricultural products such as milled rice, cassava (fresh, as powder and as crisps), cashew nuts, corn, mango, pepper and vegetables, ministry data shows.