The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) organised a consultation workshop yesterday to gather information and comments from agriculture sector stakeholders to assist in the preparation of a 2018 national budget that would better support to the sector.
MEF Secretary of State Vong Sey Vissoth, who co-chaired the session alongside Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon, said Cambodia’s agriculture sector faces myriad challenges.
He said the concerns raised by industry stakeholders participating in the workshop would be crucial to formulating a national budget plan next year.
“This Ministry [of Agriculture] is a priority ministry so an increased budget for its spending will be considered,” he said. “But before considering whether to enlarge the budget for more spending, we need to examine the current spending and see whether it is in line with our objectives.”
Vissoth explained that the agriculture sector was crucial for the country’s economic growth and food security. He added that the MEF will focus its effort on examining how to improve productivity in the sector and increase crop diversification.
Chan Sophal, director of the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), who attended the workshop, said Cambodia’s agriculture industry faces broad-ranging issues such as declining prices and low market demand that cannot be resolved by the Agriculture Ministry alone.
He noted, however, that the focus of yesterday’s discussion was not to identify immediate solutions to those problems, but rather to provide constructive feedback for the government’s work on the national budget.
“This discussion is to gather inputs for preparing the 2018 national budget . . . and to allocate the budget for the right targets,” he said.