The government introduced an organic agriculture policy to boost production and export, according to a prakas from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Sunday.
The private sector expects the policy to help boost local markets and curb vegetable imports from neighbouring countries, said the ministry.
The regulation aims to raise confidence among producers and consumers and ensures quality, safe food products in line with organic standards.
This will give a competitive edge to and promote local food products on the domestic and export markets, it said.
“At the same time, it [the policy] also encourages the participation of farmers, agricultural communities and the private sector in promoting the organic agricultural practices. This will contribute to environmental protection, health care, safety and citizen welfare.
“The prakas contains 16 articles covering the scope of organic agricultural practices in the production and processing of initial food crops and commercial organic agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables and other food crops.
“It will encourage farmers, farming communities and members of the private sector who grow food crops to commercialise their food products through educational services.
“It will adjust the implementation of Cambodian organic agricultural rules to ensure that all food products are of good quality and safe for human consumption and animal feed,” said the ministry.
It added that those caught using counterfeit or deceptive labelling of food crops would be punished under applicable laws.
Bun Sieng, CEO of Natural Agriculture Village, a local vegetable distributor, told The Post on Monday that Cambodia’s organic farming rules and national logo for organic agricultural practices will boost the cultivation and consumption of local vegetables.
“I think it’s a good sign that the government is promoting organic vegetables as it will enable us to export more of them in the future to meet market demand,” said Sieng.
She said the policy’s endorsement will encourage consumers to choose local vegetables over those imported from neighbouring countries.
“I think it will encourage farmers to further expand vegetable growing, because organic vegetables have strong markets and fetch higher prices.
“Even though we are taking slow steps to promote organic vegetables, we will be able to strengthen our vegetable market in the future,” she said.
Earlier this month, ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy said Cambodia needs to import about 32 per cent of its vegetables from Vietnam and Thailand to meet domestic demand.
The Kingdom is expected to be able to supply 716,113 tonnes of domestic vegetables this year, which would satisfy 68 per cent of the estimated total demand of over one million tonnes, he said.
Cambodia exported only 38.63 tonnes of vegetables in the first three months of this year to France, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, a ministry report said.