Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Local production struggles

Local production struggles

Local production struggles

120731_09

A woman looks at juice made by Tipco Foods Pcl during a Thai trade fair held in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

Weak domestic production and rising demand led to a 28 per cent year-on-year increase in imported foods and beverages during the first six months of the year.

The Kingdom imported US$94.7 million in foods and beverages between January and June, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

The figure rose significantly, from $74 million a year earlier on what officials called a continued and widening shortfall in the Kingdom’s ability to meet domestic demand.

Some even called into question the safety of local products.

“It’s not good for our country when we see [this figure] increase. It proves that our domestic production has not response to the rise in demand,” Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday. “I think our production and production quality is still poor so we need to import good quality products. Myself and others always think about our health before deciding to eat [local products].”

The gap in production capacity is well recognised in Cambodia, he added. Domestic producers must step up not only quantity, but quality in order to capture the market.

The shortfall did not necessarily reflect increased inadequacy in Cambodian production, Meng Saktheara, director general of industry and secretariat of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Sub-Committee.

Robust economic growth and booming retail sales accounted for the rise in imported goods.

“We also cannot say that the rise of imported products is our weakness or strength,” Meng Saktheara said yesterday. “Due to our good business atmosphere, retailer services are much better than they used to be. So we import more. Sometimes, we import some products which are not available here.”

Production was increasing, along with the recognition of local brands once completely overlooked by Cambodians, he added.

Lower prices abroad – an ease in inflation seen across the region – also led to more imports from neighbouring countries, Khin Song, deputy director general at the National Institute of Statistics, told the Post recently.

Cambodia has, however, seen some notable progress on product exports this year. Cambodia Beer, produced by Khmer Brewery, recently announced that it would export to Japan.

There has also been progress on product recognition on the global market, the Post reported earlier this year. Several Khmer products such as the traditional fermented fish sauce, or prohok, have been awarded geographical indicators that protect the goods’ identity.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

    The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019. If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian

  • ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

    Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them. Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half

  • Breaking: Rubbish found packed inside 83 containers at S'ville port

    Eighty-three containers packed with rubbish were broken open at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port by joint authorities on Tuesday. The origin of the containers has yet to be ascertained, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. Pheaktra, who is also the ministry’s secretary of state, said

  • Some jobs off limits to foreigners from August

    Beginning from the second week of August, foreigners will be banned from driving taxis and tuk-tuks, as well as being motorcycle delivery drivers, street food vendors, hairdressers and product distributors among other lower-income jobs. Some white-collar jobs such as the head of human resources will