During an evening meeting with his Guinea-Bissau counterpart on July 23, Prime Minister Hun Sen made a commitment to form an agricultural delegation to gain a comprehensive understanding of the soil conditions and farming practices in Guinea-Bissau’s agricultural sector. This understanding would help guide their assistance to this West African nation.
Following this meeting, Sry Thamrong, the Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister, relayed that Hun Sen was considering initiatives such as the establishment of irrigation canals and high-yield rice variety nurseries in Guinea-Bissau. He said such initiatives were at the heart of Hun Sen’s vision for agricultural cooperation.
“[Hun Sen] mentioned that when Guinea-Bissau President [Umaro Sissoco Embalo] makes a visit to Cambodia in the near future, he intends to sign several agreements, particularly those related to the agricultural sector,” Thamrong noted.
“There could be potential for agreements protecting investment, visa exemption arrangements and other preferential contracts. Notably, there could be political dialogues between the two countries to identify and explore sectors with potential for enhancing their bilateral relations,” he added.
On July 24, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokeswoman Im Rachna told The Post that, to date, there has not been any agricultural cooperation between Cambodia and Guinea-Bissau. However, following Hun Sen’s directive, the ministry would create a task force to engage with the African nation on this matter.
Rachna noted that agricultural collaboration between Cambodia and other nations had progressed significantly, especially from late 2022 to early 2023. She confirmed that the ministry had successfully engaged with various countries on these fronts.
“In regard to our cooperation with other countries, our partnership with Cuba is particularly noteworthy.
“We’ve already sent technical working groups, inclusive of investors in the rice sector, to learn about Cuba’s legal nuances and rice cultivation techniques. They’ve also studied the soil conditions to get a deeper understanding of how best to assist Cuba,” she said.
Rachna also noted that Timor-Leste is presently reviewing ways to also provide technical assistance and investment in the unmilled and milled rice sectors in those countries. It appears that Guinea-Bissau will be the next country to work closely with Cambodia’s agriculture ministry.