Agriculture minister Dith Tina asked Yaron Tamir, the CEO of Israeli agricultural capacity-building company Agrostudies, to examine the possibility of importing Cambodian agricultural products into Israel.

Tina described the Middle Eastern nation as a potentially profitable and sustainable market for produce such as Mondulkiri avocadoes, though he acknowledged that further studies are required.

“Close attention needs to be paid to supply chains and the pricing of produce, both in Israel and in Cambodia. The ministry is always exploring new market opportunities, in addition to welcoming investment inthe agriculture sector, as part of our efforts to guarantee the Kingdom’s food security,” he said.

During their March 20 meeting, Tina also asked Agrostudies to continue to work with the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA). The two institutions currently co-organise 11-month agricultural internships in Israel.

The minister recommended that the interns make sure their English is of a high standard so they could take as much from what they learn as possible.

“They will undergo intense education in crop production techniques, and learn about the irrigation system in Israel. This will enable them to research ways to elevate Cambodian operations to the level of smart farms. A mastery of the English language will assist them to access as much information as possible,” he said.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said on March 21 that the private sector enjoys the support of new technologies from Israel, and even some investment.

“Over the years, my own plantations have used agricultural technology from Israel, not only in our irrigation systems but also with fertilisation and breeding.

“We also expect more investment from Israel, especially following collaboration between our chambers of commerce. Human resource development through education is also important. I believe that if more of our students go to study in Israel, the agriculture sector will grow,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the 11-month internship programme began in 2008. By the end of this year, 15 annual programmes will have been run, with a total of 1,719 graduates. Another 200 students will join in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Deng Dara, secretary-general of the Cambodian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, said the association has worked hard to link the public and private institutions of Cambodia and Israel. It is currently promoting Israeli investment in the Kingdom.

“We have also linked several state institutions of the two countries, which will lead to the signing of various memorandums. We are currently working with the education ministry to send Cambodian students to Israel for standard education, whether through scholarships or paid tuition,” he said.

Dara said they are always looking for opportunities to cooperate, especially in terms of the exchange of agricultural experience.

“In particular, we want to encourage the increased use of Israeli technology, as well as investment. Cambodia has a lot of potential for incentives for investors, such as its human resources, geographical location and the political stability which the government provides,” he said.