Jan-May ‘assorted vegetable’ exports increase over 9%
January to May exports in the “assorted vegetables” category saw a 9.22 per cent year-on-year rise, according to latest agriculture ministry figures, despite unease amongst industry players, who say that few transport options and lack of local agriculture infrastructure have been hindering growth.
France accounted for the overwhelming majority of exports at 39.78 tonnes, or 99.9 per cent, followed by New Zealand at 0.04 tonnes, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The “assorted vegetables” category consists of cucumber, cabbage, choy sum, broccoli and cauliflower, and excludes popular Cambodian crops such as mung beans, soybeans, rice, peppercorn, chillies and cassava.
Sok Yorn, vice-president of the Siem Reap province-based Cambodia Safe Fish, Meat and Vegetables Association, told The Post that crop yields have not been as high as desired, despite the agriculture ministry having launched a series of new strategies to improve and boost domestic vegetable cultivation.
He said that the Kingdom’s agricultural sector is still not growing as quickly as it could because it lacks local agricultural fertiliser factories, proper storage facilities, cultivation techniques and markets. Sector growth has also been hampered by the high number of illegal imports, he added.
As a result, Yorn said, Cambodia is still reliant on high levels of vegetable imports from neighbouring countries.
“In order for Cambodia’s agricultural sector to develop rapidly, it is necessary for the authorities to provide more assistance in planting techniques, irrigation systems, lowering production costs [by providing agricultural fertilisers] and providing financial assistance,” he said.
Yorn added that such growth must also take into account the ability to keep vegetable yields hygienic and at a high quality.
“However, most agricultural products have not reached the quality and phytosanitary standards necessary for export, something which requires more attention from growers and agricultural authorities,” he said.
The association president added that any rise in cultivation rates would translate to an increased capacity to supply fruits and vegetables for export.
Chan Pich, general manager of Signatures of Asia Co Ltd, which exports milled rice and vegetables, said that a lack of flights during the Covid-19 pandemic had prompted the company to halt vegetable exports.
He said that the frequency of flights has remained low despite Cambodia having reopened in November, and that other forms of transport would take too long and cause the vegetables to spoil en route. “We have not contacted our customers to resume exports,” he added.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said late last year that since the Covid-19 pandemic, the growing and exporting of agricultural products in Cambodia has been on the rise.
He said the ministry has set out a number of policies to support and boost production and quality to meet domestic demand and export.
The ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture said that in 2021, Cambodia exported 7.98 million tonnes of agricultural products to 68 countries and territories, marking a 63.83 per cent increase in total volume over 2020 figures and netting nearly $4.97 billion.
Source from: Jan-May ‘assorted vegetable’ exports increase over 9%. https://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/jan-may-assorted-vegetable-exports-increase-over-9