Cambodia and Nigeria have pledged to boost bilateral trade, with hopes of agricultural products, such as rice, and other export products making their way there soon.

The pledge was made during a bilateral meeting between Minister of Commerce Cham Nimol and Nigerian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Folakemi I. Akinleye at the ministry on September 19, 2023.

Although Nigeria is a large and populous nation, Cambodia’s milled rice export there is small, Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on September 20, adding that the Kingdom’s current rice export markets in Africa are Gabon, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

If Nigeria increased its order of milled rice from Cambodia, it would be beneficial for both countries. “It would improve the quality and price of Cambodian milled rice and also encourage farmers and investors to increase investment in the rice sector.

“As milled rice exporters, we always strive to increase export destinations. Every country is a potential export destination for the CRF,” he said, pointing out that investments in the rice sector in African countries are also on the rise.

According to the CRF, in the first eight months of 2023, Cambodia exported 401,699 tonnes of milled rice to international markets, equivalent to nearly 58 per cent of the 700,000 tonnes-milled rice target in 2023. The revenue from milled rice exports during the period was about $278.7 million.

“Assuming Cambodia boosts exports to Nigeria, it would be great because it has a large population [over 230 million people] and economy. With more diverse production capabilities now, Cambodia certainly has many products to meet Nigeria’s needs,” Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia told the Post.

During a meeting with Ok Boung, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce in July 2022, Akinleye said Nigeria was interested in investing in the development of Cambodia’s special economic zones and agriculture sectors.

She requested that Cambodia and Nigeria strengthen trade and investment ties by examining the possibility of joint ventures in priority areas to serve mutual needs and raise bilateral trade.

The meeting also saw Boung seeking Nigeria’s consideration to import goods from Cambodia, such as clothing, footwear, travel products, bicycles, and agricultural products (milled rice, cassava, longans, and mangoes).

He also suggested a visit by Nigerian public and private institutions to explore the business and investment landscape and exchange ideas in Cambodia.