Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - High food prices shrink imports in third quarter

High food prices shrink imports in third quarter

High food prices shrink imports in third quarter

Food and beverage imports in the Kingdom fell more than 70 per cent in the third quarter, as high international prices and the growth of domestic production dragged on demand.

About 192,580 tonnes of food and beverage products entered Cambodia between July and September, down 72 per cent from 682,141 tonnes in the same period last year, according to Minister of Commerce statistics.

Cambodia Institute for Development Study president Kang Chandaroth pointed to rising international food costs as the reason imports dropped, but said the decrease was an “opportunity for local production to increase".

Federation of Association for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia president Te Taing Por said the Kingdom’s food-makers were working to fill the gap left by falling imports.

“Our domestic products are on the rise as a result of our push for high quality,” he said, adding that consumer demand for the products had increased as a result.

FASMEC and the Cambodian government had been working to drive domestic production, Te Taing Por said.

The ban on illegally imported food products from Vietnam and Thailand also aided the boost in consumption of domestic products, he added.

Te Taing Por said the Kingdom would now better compete with other ASEAN countries when full economic integration of the region was implemented in 2015.

“Nowadays, fish sauce and soy sauce products that are processed here are of good quality and are able to compete,” he said.

As well as fish and soy sauces, Cambodia produ-ces packed instant noodles, canned fish, vinegar, milk, wine and fruit juices, among other items, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Chamkar Dong Soy Sauce owner Seng Chena told the Post her production levels had doubled last quarter as customer demand for domestic sauces rose.

Her previous per-day output of 100 dozen bottles rose to 200 dozen over that period.

However, Seng Chena did note that foreign companies held greater amounts of capital and used advertisements to sell their products, which put her at a competitive disadvantage in the market.

She said she hoped growing support among domestic customers would drive sales in the future, along with prices that were lower than those of her foreign competitors.

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