Agriculture

China and Cambodia to Create Modern Agriculture Master Plan

Cambodia’s agriculture industry is slated to grow after China agreed to set up a working group with the Kingdom to draw up a master plan to develop modern agriculture countrywide and strengthen bilateral trade
Vegetable vendors at a market in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Vegetable vendors at a market in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Cambodia and China have organized a working group to create a master plan for modern agriculture development in Cambodia.

On Thursday last week, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and China's Foreign Economic Cooperation Centre agreed to form a working group to create a master plan for modern agriculture development in Cambodia.

It will focus on rice, corn, rubber, cassava, bananas, animal production, and aquaculture, according to Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, who posted the information on Facebook.

Zhang Lubiao, director of China's Foreign Economic Cooperation Centre, said his mission is to strengthen and expand agricultural cooperation between the two countries, particularly to promote Cambodia's master plan for modern agriculture development, according to Sakhon.

“To make this work successful, the Chinese side has set up a national expert team with high capacity and experience in developing master plans for agricultural development,” he said.

Cambodian and Chinese officials meet at Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, August 18, 2022. Kiripost via Veng Sakhon Facebook page
Cambodian and Chinese officials meet at Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, August 18, 2022. Kiripost via Veng Sakhon Facebook page

He said that the master plan is critical, and the implementation mechanism is even more critical. This includes the mobilization and use of resources, including human resources and budget resources, from the national to the local level and vice versa.

“At the same time, it must be monitored, reviewed, and evaluated on the outcome of the implementation,” he added.

Sakhon said that in order to ensure the master plan is as successful as expected, expert teams from both ministries must consider promoting agricultural modernization and the completion of the agricultural production chain in all aspects.

“By focusing on integrating producers, the private sector and the market, as well as strengthening the work of cultivation, processing, and packaging with quality, safety, and standards to meet the needs of the consumers both domestic and foreign,” he said.

Besides, the Ministry proposed to the working committee that additional promising crops, such as mango and cashew nut, be included in Cambodia's master plan for modern agricultural development.

Also, the Chinese side has been requested to expedite the opening of negotiations on sanitary and phytosanitary criteria on other Cambodian agricultural goods, such as pepper, swiftlet saliva, and durian.

Hong Vannak, an economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the Kingdom may reap significant benefits from the master plan as China has a large market for Cambodian agricultural products.

In the past, the quantity of goods sent to China was restricted, and sanitation is still an issue that cannot be totally resolved. If China cooperates with Cambodia, the process will go smoothly, he added.

“I believe that it’s great for Cambodia to grow and strengthen production capacity in all essential areas,” Vannak told Kiripost. “So, if it works, Cambodian farmers and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to boost exports.”

However, he added that the trade between Cambodia and China is imbalanced, with imports from China exceeding exports from Cambodia to China. As Cambodia is under the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement, both countries are expanding their exports, he added.

“China imports more than $8 billion into Cambodia, and Cambodia exports approximately $10 billion,” he said. “Because China is large, and Cambodia is a developed country, it needs a lot of materials for development. That’s why the amount of Chinese imports is enormous.”