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US investors eye opportunities in agricultural sector

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A farmer drives his tractor in rice field during harvest in Battambang province. Heng Chivoan

US investors eye opportunities in agricultural sector

A US business delegation representing 16 companies will arrive in the Kingdom later this week to seek investment opportunities in the agriculture sector, the US Embassy in Phnom Penh said in a statement on Friday.

The companies include Walmart Inc, Amazon.com Inc, IBM Corp, John Deere, Corteva Inc, California Figs, Archer Daniels Midland Company and US Grains Council, it said.

The representatives will attend a two-day event – Business Opportunities in Cambodia’s Agriculture Sector – to be held in Phnom Penh on February 6-7.

Ngin Chhay, the director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ General Directorate of Agriculture, said the ministry will meet with the representatives on Tuesday.

Ngorn Saing, CEO of RMA Group, which operates businesses in the automotive, heavy equipment and food and beverage sectors, said imports from John Deere sell well in the Kingdom. “My company sold around 400 [of their] tractors last year.”

He said the Kingdom’s farmers were gradually shifting to tractors to tend to their fields and leaving livestock behind.

“Our farmers don’t want to use cattle anymore. They are turning more to tractors which makes things easier and faster on the farm, reduce labour and improves yields,” he said.

He estimated that tractor supply in the Kingdom was around 3,000 last year, up 10 per cent from 2018.

“The demand for tractors has increased rapidly in our country over the last few years in line with investment in the agro-industry and agricultural sectors. I think the demand will continue to grow,” he added.

Trade between Cambodia and the US reached $5.446 billion last year – up 38 per cent from 2018’s $3.935 billion, a report from the US Census Bureau said.

The report noted that exports from the Kingdom to the US rose by 40 per cent, hitting $4.9 million, while US exports to Cambodia hit $484 million, up by 20 per cent.

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