Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM announces oil-food equation hurting poor

PM announces oil-food equation hurting poor

PM announces oil-food equation hurting poor

120522_05b

Women buy meat at a market in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. Prime Minister Hun Sen blamed rising food prices on high fuel prices during a speech yesterday. Photograph: Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday blamed soaring food prices on fuel prices set by oil cartels like OPEC, appealing to oil-producing countries to pay attention to the connection between food security and energy.

Cambodia imports 100 per cent of its oil, and the majority of agriculture production is dependent on fuel, he said, expressing concern over recent data that showed 80 per cent of food producers in Cambodia would increase prices in order to match jumps in fuel costs.

“If we increase food prices to balance with fuel prices, it would cause people to die. This is a big issue,” said Hun Sen at the opening of the Food Security and Nutrition Seminar, hosted by the government in partnership with the UN, USAID and NGO Caritas.

Speaking to approximately 500 representatives from the government and civil society, the premier said oil-producing countries had never considered how to bring food and energy security into harmony.

“This is an initiative of the Cambodian Prime Minister, and I will appeal to the world to pay strong attention to make food and energy security in harmony through food and fuel prices.

“I think that through the representatives of the FAO and [the World Food Programme] these initiatives should be taken up for debate,” he said.

Cambodia is among the 20 worst countries globally for child malnutrition, according to a fact sheet released at the seminar that labels it “one of the biggest health problems that Cambodia is currently facing”.

Despite successes in reducing maternal and under-five mortality, improvements in nutrition have stagnated in the past five years, said Council for Agricultural and Rural Development chairperson and deputy prime minister Yim Chhay Ly in a press release.

WFP country director Jean-Pierre de Margerie agreed certain nutrition indicators had stalled, likely due to high food prices that hit the country in 2007 and 2008.

“The poor spend their majority of income on food, so they are vulnerable to fluctuations in food prices,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • ‘Do not harm Cambodians’, says PM’s son to opposition

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son Hun Manet said on Sunday that the Kingdom would not bow to international pressure, and accused some Western countries of siding with opposition politicians who hold dual citizenship to exert pressure on Cambodia. The remarks were made after