Cambodia exported over 3.4 million tonnes of agricultural products to international markets in the first quarter of 2022 – an 11 per cent increase in volume from the same period a year ago, according to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Data from the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture reveal that Cambodia exported a total of 3,434,070 tonnes of agricultural products to 57 countries and territories, an increase of more than 344,860 tonnes, or 11.16 per cent year-on-year. The estimated value of exports was $1.268 billion.

Major agricultural exports include milled and paddy rice, cassava chips, fresh cassava, tapioca starch, raw and processed cashew nuts, dried corn kernels, mung beans, bananas, pomelos, fresh and processed mangoes, peppers, tobacco, fresh and dried chillies, and a variety of other vegetables.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told The Post on April 3 that Cambodia’s agricultural sector is continuing to grow steadily, with the increase in yields in recent years not only helping to reduce dependence on imports from neighbouring countries, but also increase the volume of the Kingdom’s exports to international markets.

He said that the continuous increase in agricultural output was due to a number of important factors, key of which includes the increase in production capacity through smart farming, which has spurred a gradual, industry-wide shift from traditional farming to modern agriculture.

Sakhon also cited the increased rate of agricultural infrastructure construction and the expansion and creation of new international markets for exports as having contributed to the higher output.

“Our agricultural exports in 2022 will increase even more compared to 2021 . . . which already clocked in at more than $4 billion,” he said.

He said that the increase in output and income from agricultural exports not only contributes to economic growth, but also helps create jobs and income for farmers as well as sizeable returns for investors.

Sok Yorn, vice-president of the Siem Reap-based Cambodia Safe Fish, Meat and Vegetables Association, said that improved marketing and cultivation techniques, as well as the expansion of agricultural land, have steadily increased the output of Cambodian agricultural products in the “last two or three years”, especially for foreign markets.

This increase not only helps Cambodia become more financially independent, he said, but also increases the brand recognition of the Kingdom’s agricultural products.

“The continuous expansion of export markets, especially that of China, has increased Cambodian farmers’ rates of cultivation, as well as the level of investment by local and foreign investors in the [exports] market,” he noted.

However, he stressed that, to keep the exports market viable, Cambodia must sustain the increased interest in its products by striving to select high quality varieties and product, as well as standardise packaging to create branding that is synonymous with the Kingdom’s agricultural output.

Ministry data shows that in 2021, Cambodia exported a total of 7,984,252 tonnes of agricultural products to 68 countries and territories, an increase of 63.83 per cent from 2020 figures, with revenue totalling $4.96 billion.