Agricultural Exports Grew By 11 Percent Last Year

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During the last five years, agricultural exports have grown on average 7 percent per year, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture’s general directorate of agriculture (GDA).

A man cuts cassava root on a farm in Pailin. Reuters

Nearly 24,000 sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates were issued last year alone, with agricultural exports reaching 5.13 million tonnes, including 76 different products.

According to the ministry’s report, exports of agricultural products grew 11 percent in 2017, with sliced cassava topping the list for most exported Cambodian commodity, with more than 2.83 million tonnes shipped abroad.

It was followed by fresh cassava (936,984 tonnes), rice (635,679 tonnes), corn (168,685 tonnes), and cassava starch (76,093 tonnes).

Hean Vanhan, Ministry of Agriculture’s director general, said the ministry’s focus is on increasing productivity and diversifying crops in the sector, with the ultimate objective of achieving 10 percent growth in exports for every product by the end of the year.

He said his department is prioritising research and product quality while working to increase efficiency and sustainability through contract farming schemes and adequate land management.

Mr Vanhan also said that the government has successfully negotiated better SPS terms with Vietnam for the exportation of dragon fruit and banana, adding that negotiations are ongoing for longan, green orange, rambutan, wax apple, and jack fruit.

Finally, he commented on a law on plant protection and SPS, saying that a draft will be ready before the July elections and that it will provide a boost to the sector by ramping up the competitiveness of local crops.

“The draft law on plant protection and SPS will allow the ministry’s SPS officers to check agricultural imports and exports at the border,” Mr Vanhan said.

The ministry’s Secretary of State, Ty Sokun, said the sector has thrived in the last two years, with yields, exports and prices on the rise, but added that to continue on this impressive trajectory the country must focus on improving productivity and finding new markets.

“We should diversify our agriculture production through knowledge, technology and innovation in order to be able to compete with neighboring countries,” he said.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.

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