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Japanese company eyes a slice of silk pie

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Nippon Koei Co Ltd general manager director Tsutomu Tamura (left) and Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou (right) at the meeting on Wednesday. SUPPLIED

Japanese company eyes a slice of silk pie

A Japanese company plans to invest in silk production, breeding silk worms in Battambang province to process into consumer products and exports, to boost economic growth and create more local jobs.

Nippon Koei Co Ltd general manager and Japan-Cambodia Association (JCA) president Tsutomu Tamura on February 2 met Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou to discuss the investment and intent to study other potential opportunities in the northwestern province, including in raw agricultural products.

Tamura said the JCA plans to bring Japanese investors to the Kingdom in April, with a stop in Battambang to study agriculture and other potential markets, with a focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), silk production and smart-city development.

The governor welcomed Nippon Koei initiatives, and urged the JCA to promote the potential of Battambang to Japanese businesses and investors.

Deputy provincial governor Soeum Bunrith told The Post on February 3 that silk production in Battambang was limited to family-run operations, saying Japanese investment would boost the economy and deliver new jobs.

With the expected influx of investment, Bunrith stressed the importance of training local farmers on the techniques involved in raising silk worms to process for export, as well as in the cultivation of mulberry trees – the leaves of which are the only proper food of the larvae.

“Investment in the sector will further boost the potential of our province’s offerings, and above all, contribute to more rapid economic growth of families,” he said.

Ieng Ly, director of the Khmer Silk Centre at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), told The Post on February 3 that the silk sector in Cambodia has been around for many years, but that there had only been sparse interest in processing and finishing, which he said has resulted in enormous wasted economic potential.

Ly was all too eager to welcome Japanese companies to the province looking to grab a slice of the silk pie. He said he would meet them to brainstorm which potential products they could create – listing fabrics, cosmetics and souvenirs as examples – and discuss market distribution channels.

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