Formation of the National Silk Board (NSB) has been delayed due to a lag in coordinating ministries to create the industry body, according to the spokesman of Ministry of Commerce.
The former minister of commerce, Cham Prasidh, said in June last year that he was aiming for the NSB to be ready after Cambodia’s general elections in late July.
The NSB’s mandate is to help tighten regulations in Cambodia’s silk industry to boost investor confidence and increase silk exports.
But Ken Ratha, spokesman for the ministry, said yesterday that pulling together relevant ministries had delayed establishing the new body.
“The discussions are taking longer because it is not Ministry of Commerce alone who is working on the NSB plan. There are other relevant ministries, so it takes time,” he said.
Ratha added that the current minister of commerce, Sun Chanthol, was trying to expedite the process “as silk is also an important sector for Cambodia economy”.
Men Sinoeun, executive director of Artisan Angkor Cambodia, said Cambodia’s silk industry is in desperate need of greater attention before golden silk – a silk variety unique to the Kingdom – dies out.
“Golden silk production has decreased from 10 tonnes to 1.5 tonnes annually,” Sinoeun told the Post.
“I am afraid that we will lose our identity if the production keeps decreasing. There is no point to form the NSB if there is no silk,” he added.
Pheanuroth Sisowath, an adviser to the planned NSB said the industry body was needed to help strengthen the industry.
“Like rice industry, NSB will give investors confidence to invest in silk industry,” he said.
When established, the NSB aims to create a certification process to boost the quality of Cambodia’s silk as well as help coordinate public-private partnerships.