Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Productivity focus needed for farming: World Bank

Productivity focus needed for farming: World Bank

Productivity focus needed for farming: World Bank

Despite increased yields and the rising use of farming machinery in Cambodia’s agriculture sector, growth in the industry for 2013-14 was only between 1 and 2 per cent, with greater emphasis needed on the quality of seeds and fertilisers, as well as encouraging greater vegetable production, according to a World Bank report.

The Cambodian Agriculture in Transition: Opportunities and Risks report released on Wednesday said that while the agricultural sector had steady growth between 2004 and 2012, driven by a spurt in rice production, a slowdown in the expansion of farmland means that producers will need to focus on getting higher yields from their input.

“In the situation with limited potential for farmland expansion, this puts emphasis on productivity, profitability, and competitiveness to underpin future growth,” the report reads.

While paddy rice production leads the way, maize, cassava, sugarcane and vegetables showed significant increases, but growth has come from a low base.

Vegetable production, the report says, while low in production numbers has been the “most profitable crops to produce in Cambodia”.

Yang Saing Koma, president of agriculture organisation CEDAC, said that progress made in encouraging vegetable farming has been very slow and this lack of take up has led to the increased import of vegetables over the years.

“We need a national program to support vegetable production and I consider it important to diversify it [agricultural production],” Koma said.

The World Bank report states that yields increased by 4 per cent between 2004 and 2012 and was largely driven by increased use of machinery, expanded irrigation and quality fertilisers.

Koma said it was the private sector that was boosting the use of fertilisers and little had been done by government to encourage the quality of seeds and access to irrigation facilities.

“I can’t say much has been done to improve seeds. In terms of fertilisers, the private sector is importing and promoting its use,” Koma said.

“So I think our government and public sector has done very little in this part.”

The report also says that despite a drop in the poverty rate – around 18 per cent in 2012 according to World Bank figures – the rate could easily double to 40 per cent if those people just above the poverty line were to lose just $0.70, or 1,200 riel, in income a day.

“That is a possibility. Agriculture is never good for these poor people in rural areas given low productivity, bad weather and lack of technology,” said Srey Chanthy, an independent economic analyst.

Chanthy added that people on the cusp of the poverty line are largely dependent on remittances and urban jobs to make a living.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,