Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Public-private meet tackles snags in agriculture

Public-private meet tackles snags in agriculture

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia sold 3,584,780 tonnes of rice – paddy and milled – worth more than $1.26 billion last year. Heng Chivoan

Public-private meet tackles snags in agriculture

High electricity prices, underdeveloped transport infrastructure and lofty logistics costs, inadequate irrigation systems, limited access to finance and high interest rates, value-added tax (VAT) and lax controls on aquaculture imports are just some of the lingering concerns plaguing the Kingdom's agriculture industry.

The Government-Private Sector Forum's Working Group A met virtually on June 9 to discuss the issues and explore possible resolutions, with the express goal of spurring domestic production and enhancing competitiveness on international markets.

Present at the meeting was Working Group A co-chair Mong Rithy, representatives of the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association and Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association (CLRA), as well as many agribusinesses and agro-industrialists.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng stressed the importance of the dialogue towards stimulating local agricultural and agro-industrial production.

He told The Post on June 10 that many hurdles remain for the private sector, even after previous government steps towards the solution of other conundrums facing the community. And these challenges are now further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, he added

"All of these setbacks will be submitted to the agriculture ministry to help solve, and if the ministry is unable to riddle them out, we'll address them at another forum between the government and the private sector under the judgement of the prime minister," Heng said.

CLRA director Srun Pov said the meeting was a crucial tool for the private sector to provide the government with an up-to-date picture of their plight, to more effectively tackle the various quandaries they are grappling with.

He said the livestock community's main requests to the government were to turn a temporary waiver of VAT on livestock production into a permanent one, to take clear control measures for animals entering the country that are susceptible to certain diseases, and to curb imports of poultry and aquaculture items that hurt domestic producers.

He pointed out that more than 50,000 tonnes of aquaculture fish remain unsold among the CLRA's members.

"[Solving] these challenges is essential to ensuring the stability of the domestic market, as well as to encourage locals to ramp up production and to greatly reduce international migration for work," Pov said.

When the local livestock sector is chugging along nicely, not only are farmers' needs being met, but they are able to crank out more of the various ingredients used for animal feed.

Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) chairman Hun Lak stressed that the private sector was not seeking handouts.

He echoed Heng's comment that problems persist even after numerous government actions taken to smoothen out many of the snags hindering agriculture.

On the other hand, he appreciated the government intervention, saying it would "more or less help those in agriculture and agro-industry sectors”, adding that the private sector would not go to the government for additional help if there were no pressing issues.

Last year, the Kingdom produced more than 20 million tonnes of agricultural products, of which it exported more than 13 million tonnes and earned over $3.433 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Cambodia sold 3,584,780 tonnes of rice – paddy and milled – worth more than $1.26 billion last year, it said.

CRF's Lak added: “When production goes well, export capacity will increase further."

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished