Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Local cotton farming abandoned

Local cotton farming abandoned

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Battambang province farmer shows off his cotton crop in 2009. Heng Chivoan

Local cotton farming abandoned

Despite huge amounts of potential and a well-rooted past, the Kingdom’s cotton cultivation industry seems to be hanging by a thread.

Though the country relies heavily on cotton fabric in its massive garment sector, insiders say Cambodian farmers have mostly abandoned the crop.

Sok Vanna, the deputy director of the industrial crop department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said cotton has not been on the ministry’s radar for many years. He claimed farmers have moved to cassava, corn, beans or cashew nuts.

“In the past few decades, even though farmers are still growing cotton, we do not have any data on the crop,” he said.

According to Vanna, cotton was cultivated in Battambang , Preah Vihear , and Kampong Cham provinces in the past. He said sometime in the last 10 years, there was even a processing factory in Kampong Cham.

The director of that province’s agriculture department, Kim Savoeurn, however, said farmers in the area had ditched the crop years ago.

“Farmers stopped growing cotton in favour of cassava, beans, and cashew nuts as those had greater market demand,” he said.

‘No data’

The deputy director of the Battambang provincial agriculture department, In Sovanmony, said that cotton cultivation is no longer practised in his province either.

“We do not have any data as to how many smallholders are still farming [cotton]. It has gone as there is no market to sell it now. Before there used to be a cotton factory, Seladamex, but it changed operations,” he said.

Seladamex Co Ltd entered the cotton industry in 2009 and claimed to cultivate 1,200ha, in addition to investing $2 million in a processing plant.

The cotton industry began to decline during the Khmer Rouge era when nearly all agricultural resources were made to focus on rice production.

Between 1965 and 1975, the industry – established by the French – thrived, and thousands of acres of the crop were harvested each year.

Although cotton growing continued under the Pol Pot regime, a lack of market for the cotton, and years of insect infestation led Cambodian farmers to all but give up on it by 1985.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided