Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Workshop mulls which fruits sweetest for regional plan

Workshop mulls which fruits sweetest for regional plan

A farmer plucks ripe oranges earlier this year at an orchard in Battambang province.
A farmer plucks ripe oranges earlier this year at an orchard in Battambang province. Heng Chivoan

Workshop mulls which fruits sweetest for regional plan

German development agency GIZ held a consultation workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday for its two-year Facilitating Trade in Agricultural Goods in Asean (FTAG) initiative, holding discussions with Ministry of Agriculture officials and local traders aimed at identifying the most suitable fruit and vegetable crops for cross-border trade between Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The $1.17 million regional initiative, first launched in June and set to run until mid-2019, aims at giving farmers in the region more market access and streamlining the cross-border trade of selected agricultural products.

Claudius Bredehoeft, senior adviser to the project, said the FTAG initiative aims to work closely with government officials in the three Southeast Asian countries to harmonise the regulatory framework concerning food safety and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and procedures for selected fruit and vegetable products.

“We are working specifically on promoting trade of agricultural products between Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam,” he said. “To facilitate more trade, we are looking at the trade barriers and how to improve border inspections.”

Bredehoeft said GIZ has identified several agricultural products, including mangoes, bananas and longans, as potential crops to develop under the project. Now it is seeking input from local traders.

“We are asking fruit and vegetable traders where they believe there should be intervention or support for particular products to grow their potential for trade,” he said.

Ker Monthivuth, director of the Plant Protection and SPS Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said GIZ’s support should help governments find common ground and clear the hurdles imposed by protective trade barriers.

“This project will help us solve the challenges [of trade] and strengthen our capacity to reach [the full] export potential of our agricultural products” he said, “Under this project we will try to improve the control of trade facilitation by deploying the appropriate technical systems at our borders.”

Monthivuth explained that once the three countries have agreed on a list of fruits and vegetables, a formal procedural framework would be drawn up for the pilot products.

“Even though we already see that our exports are increasing year after year, challenges remain such as the limited technical knowledge of our farmers to be able to increase production capacity and generate more profits,” he said.

He said the Cambodian government is hoping Thailand and Vietnam will agree to the terms of the initiative as it could help reduce the amount of informal trade between the three countries. Fruits and vegetables traded through informal channels are not subject to food safety inspections, putting people’s health at risk, he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police

  • Rapper deletes song critical of Cambodian social issues

    A young musician has deleted from Facebook and YouTube a rap song that was critical of Cambodia’s social issues and announced that he will stop singing the song after officials visited his home in Siem Reap province and allegedly gave him a warning. Provincial