Even as more investments from Chinese companies pour into Cambodia and cooperation in the field of agriculture increases, Cambodian agricultural products are expected to be promoted in more international markets, especially the Chinese market.
Minister Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon, receiving a delegation from various companies to discuss cooperation in the field of agriculture between Cambodia and China on January 17, termed Cambodia as a “friend of China”. “Cambodia is a friend of China and in recent years the two sides have agreed to establish a full strategic partnership,” Sakhon said.
The Cambodian-Sino agricultural cooperation was launched during the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
The cooperation led to a number of companies investing in Cambodia’s agricultural sector.
The CEO from one of the visiting Chinese companies said that Cambodia was a friend of China, while Sakhon expressed his deep gratitude to China, the Embassy of China, and the General Administration of Customs for their cooperation.
Over the past several years, Chinese investments in Cambodia’s agricultural sector has seen a steady increase in agro exports of produce to China, a practice that is proving to be advantageous for the two countries.
In 2020 Cambodia imported eight times more than it exported to the economic giant but this considerably large trade deficit with China can gradually be reduced with the growing number of exports of agricultural goods from the Kingdom.
This also suits China where incomes continue to rise, and with them also food consumption and demand for fresh, high-quality exotic produce which Cambodia has a lot of to offer.
These two fruits were the only ones from Cambodia approved by the Chinese but with the China-Cambodia FTA coming into effect on Jan 1 many other items are expected to join the list.
In the past ten years, Cambodia has been promoting itself for more large-scale agricultural production geared towards export while at the same time recognising the technical barriers of lacking processing facilities in order to become e serious exporter.
This drew the attention of private Chinese investors who also were spurred on by the attractive incentive of Economic Land Concessions (ELC) where investors could obtain 10,000 hectares for agro-industrial plantations and processing facilities.
Since then, Chinese investments in the sector have funded large-scale irrigation projects, rice mills, educational training in various centers and introduced processing and other practices essential for large scale agricultural production Sokhan gave just one example where investments of this kind had helped establish an agro-industrial center on one particular area of 80 hectares by dividing the fruit market, processing plant, cold storage building, agricultural exhibition building, disinfection, and pest control for fruits such as mango.
To help boost Cambodia’s agricultural exports, the Chinese government has also sponsored a laboratory for vaccination against cattle and tuberculosis.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.