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Cambodia, China set to prepare agri master plan

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Agriculture minister Veng Sakhon (right) shakes hands with Zhang Lubiao,director of China’s Foreign Economic Cooperation Centre. VENG SAKHON VIA FB

Cambodia, China set to prepare agri master plan

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its Chinese counterpart have jointly set up a working group to draw up a master plan to develop modern agriculture in Cambodia, by focusing on key potential products such as milled rice, corn, rubber, cassava, bananas, animal production and aquaculture.

In a meeting with the Cambodian ministry on August 18, Zhang Lubiao, director of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Centre under the Chinese ministry, said he aims to strengthen and expand agricultural cooperation between the countries, in particular by supporting the development of a master plan.

Zhang said for this work to be successful, the Chinese side has set up a national team or experts with high capacity and experience to develop the master plan.

“The preparation of the master plan is very important, but so is the implementation mechanism, which involves the mobilisation and utilisation of resources, human resources and budget resources between the national and grassroots level. At the same time, it is necessary to monitor, review and evaluate the results of implementation,” he added.

Veng Sakhon told The Post on August 18 that both the ministries signed an agreement on January 11, 2018 to prepare a plan for the development of modern agriculture in Cambodia.

The discussion on the planning for the development of modern agriculture in Cambodia began on August 13, 2018 with the research on important documents and data in the agricultural sector as a basis for the preliminary study.

Sakhon said the process of the master plan was delayed by Covid-19, which led to a termination of a contract by Henan University of Technology with CITIC Construction Co Ltd to which was commissioned to prepare it.

“The experts of the centre plan to study the agricultural sector in some target provinces between August 31 and October 29, 2022. The meeting on August 18 saw both sides agreeing to continue their efforts to turn the policy into action in the future with financial support from the Chinese government,” he explained.

The master plan should focus on connecting producers, the private sector and the market by strengthening cultivation, processing and packaging with quality, safety and standards to meet the needs and preferences of consumers, both inside and outside the country.

Tan Monivann, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce as well as the Mong Reththy Group, told The Post that the master plan is very important, especially for the private sector to support the promotion of potential products of Cambodia to modernise agriculture.

“However, the master plan needs to involve the private sector, so I ask the private sector to support and participate in the master plan,” he said.

On July 6, the Ministry of Commerce held a meeting to discuss and approve the strategic plan document to maximise the benefits of the implementation of the free trade agreement on the study of 11 priority items, namely rice, cassava, bananas, Pailin longan, mangoes, cashews nuts, meats, natural rubber, pineapple, peppercorn, and fish.

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