Cambodia imported 47,409 tonnes of pesticides and 858,632 tonnes of agricultural fertilisers in the first five months of 2021, a “sharp increase” year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported on August 9.
Significant increases in agricultural productivity this year have sparked strong demand for these chemical substances, the ministry noted in a press release.
And the local prices for these products have surged over the past year as Cambodian demand outpaces international supply, and major producers such as China, Malaysia and the UAE run out of the necessary raw materials, among a plethora of other reasons, it said.
The fertiliser industries of countries such as China, Thailand and Vietnam have also been forced to reduce the workforce amid Covid-19 outbreaks which have prompted restrictions that, amid other repercussions, lead to bottlenecks in transport and logistics, it added.
And to make matters more complicated, other countries have ordered agricultural pesticides and fertilisers from Cambodia, further pushing demand beyond supply, it said, adding that this, coupled with costs of repackaging – requiring Khmer-language labels, and indirect purchases via brokers have inflated prices far exceeding direct-from-factory rates.
“Domestic demand for agricultural fertilisers has increased significantly as more investors shift from other sectors to agriculture. Cambodia has not yet been able to produce agricultural fertilisers,” the ministry said.
The Kingdom by and large produces only natural, organic fertilisers.
Yun Sophat, CEO of local fertiliser company Huy Yun Agriculture Co Ltd, told The Post that there is high demand for his firm’s natural fertiliser, but noted that prices were not rising.
“We’ve experienced competition with poor-quality imported fertilisers and had to sell at lower prices … our company is very attentive to quality for consumers.
“The company focuses on providing free-of-charge technical training to growers, which is part of our strategy to prop up the livelihoods of Cambodian farmers,” he said.
The Kingdom imported 103,005 tonnes of pesticides and 1,406,775 tonnes of agricultural fertilisers last year, the ministry reported.