Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government urged to move fast on draft organic food law

Government urged to move fast on draft organic food law

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A store attendant arranges organic bananas on a shelf at the Khmer Cooperative Organic shop in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Government urged to move fast on draft organic food law

The private sector has called on the government to speed up enacting the organic food law, which is currently languishing in the draft stage. Having the law, it said, will provide product recognition.

Ten Ra, the technical adviser on trade facilitation and standards for German development agency GIZ, said a national organic food law is an important key to build trust in the market.

While there are organic farms producing quality produce that has made its way into markets across the country, consumers still question the quality and safety of the food.

“Cambodia doesn’t have an organic law to certify products, so it is difficult to gain the trust of consumers.

“While farmers can attest to the quality and safety of their products, consumers fear buying them,” he said, adding that some organic producers spent a lot of money for international certification, which isn’t necessary for selling in the domestic market.

“Having our own organic law will be cheaper than obtaining international certification. The government should consider having the law passed as soon as possible to control the quality of such products and promote them locally too,” Ra said.

Kean Sophea, the deputy director for the Department of Horticulture and Subsidiary Crops in the Ministry of Agriculture, said the national organic bill has already completed the draft bill.

It is currently under review by a Ministry of Agriculture committee, which may take some time to finalise it as the bill contains about 60 articles.

“The bill is being analysed by a committee in the ministry, and only after they have completed the job can we make it available for public review,” Sophea said, adding that such a law is key to enforcing standards and monitoring quality.

When passed, he said the ministry will provide a logo to be stamped on the product to certify their quality, standard, and safety, and to weed out those who merely claim their food is organic.

“We have the mechanism to control the quality of organic food in order to build trust with markets and consumers,” Sophea said, adding that the ministry will encourage farmers to produce organic products by using proper techniques and with compost as fertiliser.

He said this will reduce the cost and raise production to meet market needs. Currently, organic products cost about 50 percent more than regular domestic and imported vegetables, due to a shortage of producers and low production.

Sam Vitou, an adviser to the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, an organisation that works with Cambodian farmers and who was at the first meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture last year to discuss proposed organic law, said it would help to promote and encourage organic farmers to be passionate about producing high-quality and safe produce.

“The law will ensure that the farmers’ produce is of high quality and safe. It will also encourage them to expand their farms and add value to their produce through better prices,” he said.

Currently Cambodia consumes 500 tonnes of vegetables a day, at a daily cost of between $200,000 and $300,000.

The Kingdom often imports vegetables, particularly from Vietnam, that are said to contain unsafe chemicals and pesticides.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial