The Ministry of Industry and Handicraft’s National Productivity Centre of Cambodia (NPCC) launched a three-day national conference on Tuesday to promote awareness of sustainable development and competitive agribusiness in Cambodia.
Challenges that still linger in the Kingdom’s agricultural sector were discussed on the first day of the conference – such as productivity limitation, a lack of agricultural input quality, a shortage of technical provisions, scarce supply chain development, as well as insufficient livestock and fisheries to meet market demand.
NPCC director Heng Eang said during the conference that though the Kingdom’s agricultural sector has achieved a paddy production surplus, which has contributed a 41.5 per cent increase in jobs, challenges still remain and need to be solved.
“[One of the aims of] the conference is to set up a mapping system … to promote the agribusiness sector and focus on technological innovations to train agriculturists on their farms, enterprises and companies to success in their field,” he said.
He added that exports pose another challenge as export mechanisms are unclear and there is a disparity between market information and cultivation targets.
“We compiled a strategy to promote productivity, promote the quality of productivity, and acknowledge the trainees in industry, handicraft and farming,” he said.
Eang added that trainees will understand the universal trend in agribusiness and the government’s relevant policies, which support agribusiness strategies and procedures for its competitiveness and sustainability.
Cambodia Rice Federation vice-president Vong Bun Heng acknowledged that agribusiness in the Kingdom faces a lot of challenges, especially a shortage of technology.
“It is true that we have a shortage of technology – our local investors will not be willing to invest in the technology seeing that the challenges and profits are not suitable for investment,” he said.
He continued that investing in technological expansion is useless as products are imported tax-free and are cheaper than local products.
Lim Kim Hong Fish Sauce Enterprise Co Ltd director Leang Hong said technological innovation for promoting productivity is generally helpful to business operations. However, investments should be based on market sales and demands, he said.
“We should focus all of our potential on what we have first before we invest in technology as it will add to costs,” he said, adding that his business operation has invested in technological innovation, which has helped production but has increased expenditure.
Leng Lina, general manager of the of the recently started business Cambodia Lady Natural Honey, said she preferred to produce honey using only natural resources and the tools she had at her disposal.
“We just set up the business, so we cannot invest much on modern tools to meet other countries’ processing standards,” she said.
“Once we gain a market, we will invest in technology to speed up the production chain and assure quality.”