A senior official from the Cambodian embassy in Thailand has asked the country’s second-largest food producer, Betagro Group, to consider a food processing plant in Cambodia.

Commercial Attache Heng Sovannarith said he wants Betagro Group, to invest to promote the development of the Cambodian agricultural value chain in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce’s Accelerating Inclusive Markets for Smallholders (Aims) project.

Sovannarith made his proposal during a visit to the company in Pathum Thani province, Thailand on Tuesday.

Sovannarith told Betagro Vice-President Kritsana Wudhiprasertkul the Cambodian government has been promoting diplomacy, trade, culture and tourism with Thailand.

“This is a major in-depth reform of the government to improve the business environment and private sector development in Cambodia,” he said.

Kritsana promised that after the two countries reopened the border checkpoints the company would lead a delegation to visit Cambodia to learn more about the potential of the Aims project before reaching a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Commerce, according to Sovannarith.

The Ministry of Commerce, through the AIMS project, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on September 28 with Makro Market, a well-known Thai brand, on Development of an agribusiness product value chain to supply Cambodian products at all branches of the market.

The Aims project is a joint project of the government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

The project is led by the Ministry of Commerce to promote the prosperity of small farmers in Cambodia by increasing profits by linking agribusiness and marketing. It operates in 18 provinces with five commercial value chains including vegetables, free-range poultry, paddy rice, cassava and raw silk.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the March inauguration of National Road 55 connecting Pursat province and the Thai border that he hopes trade activities of both sides will reach $15 billion in 2020.

The trade volume between Cambodia and Thailand reached $9.41 billion last year, an increase of 12 per cent compared to 2018, which was $8.38 billion.

Cambodia exports reached $2.2 billion, up 195 per cent, while imports from Thailand were $7.14 billion, down 6 per cent.