Self-improvement A Must To Compete Abroad, Minister Tells Agriculture Firms

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Local players in agribusiness must strive to become more efficient and productive while also upping the quality and safety standards of their products, Minister of Industry Cham Prasidh said on Tuesday.

Cambodian products displayed at a local trade fair. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Speaking at the three-day National Conference on Developing Sustainable and Competitive Agribusiness in Cambodia, held at the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts this week, the minister urged Cambodian companies in agriculture and agro-processing to streamline their operations so that they can compete with international firms.

He highlighted efforts by his own ministry to advance local standards, which include organising workshops, training sessions, and conferences aimed at enhancing the productivity and efficiency of local firms.

Mr Prasidh said the ministry has also been working alongside the Asian Productivity Organisation to upgrade the local agriculture industry.

“Today’s conference focuses on the development of agribusiness, a sector crucial to economic development, accounting for 50 percent of the jobs in manufacturing and export,” he said.

The minister said the development of the rice sector in recent years represents a success story for the government. He said local rice is now in line with international standards, adding that a local variety even won the title of ‘World’s Best Rice’ last year at the TRT World Rice Conference.

“However, productivity in agribusiness is still small due to limitations in labour, techniques, and technology.

“A lot of our companies are still unable to export their products abroad. They need to try harder to improve quality and safety standards to join the global market,” the minister said.

Kann Kunthy, vice president and managing director of Amru Rice Cambodia, echoed Mr Prasidh’s remarks regarding the local rice sector, bringing attention to the progress achieved in recent years.

“The rice sector serves as a model for other industries. Our rice now complies with international quality and safety standards and we are able to compete with other countries,” he said, adding that this progress was possible because the government had a clear strategy for the sector.

“There are other agricultural products that can be improved and eventually exported abroad,” he added.

Minister Prasidh urged firms in agribusiness to adopt new production methods and technologies to bump up quality standards and boost exports.

“If companies don’t strive for self-improvement, big foreign companies will come and grab their share of the local market. Companies must become more competitive by improving quality and productivity,” he added.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.