The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries plans to extend its tracking system to include agricultural products beyond those originating in the fisheries sector.

During a recent visit to a dried fish factory in Siem Reap province, ministry spokesperson Im Rachna said this system aims to ensure food safety for all and promote Cambodia’s agricultural products globally.

The ministry, in partnership with the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) – with financial support from the EU through the CAPFISH-CAPTURE fisheries development project – arranged a four-day visit from September 17 to 20.

Rachna noted that the ministry’s Fisheries Administration (FiA) and UNIDO currently operate a tracking system for fisheries products in Phnom Penh, as well as some other provinces.

She said that once companies had successfully implemented the system, they would receive the Cambodia Quality Seal (CQS) food safety certification.

The CQS enables business owners to charge premium prices for their products.

Furthermore, it facilitates the sale of products to international markets, thereby aiding in the promotion of Cambodian agricultural products on a global platform.

She said the ministry will extend this approach to include other sub-sectors under its jurisdiction, including fruit and vegetables, and other horticultural products.

She added that the system would allow for transparency throughout the production process.

“It enables everyone to trace the source of raw materials, assess their safety for consumption and evaluate transportation practices. It also ensures compliance with the standards set by the CAPFISH-CAPTURE project,” she explained.

“Buyers can monitor the entire production process from start to finish. If issues arise, consumers can report them immediately, and our officials can arrange for product recalls and inspections to ensure there are no health risks to consumers,” she added.

Shetty Thombathu, senior technical adviser at UNIDO, said the CAPFISH-CAPTURE project is a comprehensive way of working with the authorities to establish a food safety inspection system and provide support and solutions to the private sector.

Additionally, UNIDO partners with several universities to tackle some of the challenges faced by agricultural product suppliers.

“We are working with Battambang High School, Prek Leap National College of Agriculture, the Institute of Technology of Cambodia and the Royal University of Agriculture. We conduct research into problems such as limited product life,” he said.

He explained that since the project’s launch in 2019, they have established regulations and introduced the CQS post-harvest fishery product symbol as part of the food safety system.

This collaborative effort with the FiA aims to encourage enterprises to meet export market requirements, with the ultimate goal of enabling Cambodia to export its products to international markets.

He said that exporting to international markets involves several complex procedures, with the tracking system being a crucial element as it allows consumers to have visibility into the entire journey from raw materials to finished products.