CAMBODIA'S vegetable production increased by 14.6 percent last year over 2007, prompted by a 12.8 percent increase in land used for cultivating over the same period, according to a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries annual report.
According to the report, released this month, Cambodia's vegetable harvest rose to 259,610 tonnes in 2008, up from 226,486 tonnes last year, with Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Cham, Takeo and Siem Reap provinces leading the way as the biggest producers.
Hean Van Horn, deputy director general of the General Directorate of Agriculture, said Tuesday that vegetables were a natural growth area for the country.
"I think vegetable farms will grow faster than rice cultivation because farmers can get more profit from vegetables," he said. "We are encouraging farmers to expand their plantation and productivity, and are helping them to produce for market."
But he added that a lack of import standards was still a challenge.
Yang Saing Koma, president of the agricultural development group CEDAC, agreed that the import of agricultural products would affect local producers because most vegetables were still grown by subsistence farmers, but that it was difficult to limit imports. "I think the most important thing is to provide technical support to local producers and to raise awareness of local consumers to consume local products," he said.