The Ministry of Commerce has vowed to uncover more markets for Cambodian products to help buffer against price fluctuations caused by the Kingdom’s dependency on neighboring countries.
In a response to concerns raised on social media, Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol wrote on the ministry’s official Facebook page on Saturday that the government is taking the issue seriously.
He wrote that he has made official visits to countries, including Japan, Belarus, Myanmar, the Philippines, France and Canada to discuss buying and investing in Cambodian products, with a focus on agriculture.
“We also plan to discuss with China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, the Middle-East and Africa for direct export of our local products without having to go through a middle man or through our neighboring countries such as Vietnam and Thailand,” he detailed on Facebook.
“This effort is the beginning of market diversification, which will add more value for our farmers as well as bring their living standard to another level.”
But farmers have heard it all before, Meas Leun, a corn farmer in Pailin province, charged.
“Farmers are tired of diplomatic words of the authorities, who have many times promised to find markets for the harvest,” he said. “They should start doing it rather than to say that they will.”
Farmers in Pailin had formed their won community to find markets for themslves, Leun added.
Him Khortieth, the communications officer from the Cambodia Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) said yesterday that a lack of policy and processing facilities was hindering the agriculture sector.
“Uncertain market remains an obstacle for farmers. The price of our agricultural products goes down when there is less demand in Thailand or Vietnam,” he said.
Ken Ratha, spokesman from the Ministry of Commerce, said the plan of market diversification is to initially focus on Cambodia’s top products including rice, cassava, corn, sesame, silk, pepper and soy bean.