Prime Minister Hun Sen took note of Cambodia's transformative journey in the agricultural sector, revealing that out of 1.2 million hectares of rice grown this year, only 400ha were ploughed by cattle.
Hun Sen shared the insights while meeting with garment workers in Pursat province on June 30.
"The use of machinery in the agricultural sector has indeed progressed.
"I initially had fears that farmers would turn completely to hand tractors, abandoning the use of cattle. This could potentially cause a crisis, such as the lack of natural fertilisers or a shortage of cattle. But the agriculture ministry has informed me that the cattle population in our country hasn't significantly declined,” he said.
Hun Sen also mentioned that farmers are moving away from transplanting rice seedlings to sowing rice seeds directly. But if farmers were to transplant seedlings, they would use a rice planting machine. The harvest is now done using wheat binders, not sickles.
The premier noted that agriculture's contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) has dropped to 21.5 per cent, whereas industry shows an increase of 38 per cent. He said the growth of industry goes hand in hand with services, and that the decline in agriculture's share is not due to a decrease in cattle raising but a partial decline in economic growth.
Hun Sen reminisced that in the past, agriculture constituted over 80 per cent of the national economy, yet Cambodia suffered at the time from a shortage of rice available for consumption.
He added that with agriculture making up just 21 per cent of Cambodia’s GDP, the nation has in excess of 4 million tonnes of milled rice available for export to 73 countries.