By THE PHNOM PENH POST
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Speaking on the release of the ministry’s 2017 annual report, Sokhon said that while farming in Cambodia had seen remarkable growth in the past few years, more work needed to be done to increase exports, ensure crops were processed in the country and increase compliance with health and safety standards.
“Our sector still faces a lot of challenges, and we need to discuss and seek the solutions in order to match with the government policy on the developing agriculture sector,” the minister said. “How do we intervene to increase productivity, quality, and safety in order to respond to market needs?”
Rice exports grew by 17.3 per cent to reach 635,697 tonnes last year, while rubber also expanded by 30.14 per cent to reach 188,832 tonnes, according to the report.
Widespread smuggling continues to account for much of the country’s agricultural trade. More than 40 per cent of Cambodia’s rice exports go through informal channels according to a recent UN estimate, while rubber plantations and processing companies have complained that small-scale farmers get higher prices for their crops by selling to Vietnamese brokers instead of complying with Cambodia’s tax laws.
Sokhon did not mention smuggling in his speech.
The export of cashew nuts grew 20 per cent last year to 87,853 tonnes according to statistics provided by the ministry.