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Farm cooperative venture in pipeline

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodia does not produce enough vegetables. To meet the shortfall, about 400 metric tons of vegetables are imported daily from neighboring countries. KT/Chor Sokunthea

A Cambodian agriculture cooperative corporation is being planned to help promote agriculture processes involving the private sector and individual producers.
 
The body, with an initial capital investment of about $300,000, will focus on rice, vegetables, fruit, and meat for the domestic market and for export.
 
The setup is due to be completed late this year with operations starting in Kampong Thom province early in 2018, said Song Saron, CEO of Amru Rice Cambodia and a founder of the corporation.
 
The corporation, made up of people involved in rice, vegetables, fruit and meat production, is to help locally produced agricultural products find markets.
 
“Our project is focused on agricultural producers in highland areas whose products are collected in our facilities for processing and storage before going to market,” Mr. Saron said.
 
“Our work is to complement agricultural producers who need storage for their products.
 
“Most of our vegetables and meat are not stored for long because this damages their quality which leads to lack of competiveness with imported agricultural products, so we have to help store those products for a few months while ensuring quality.”
 
In the first stage, $300,000 is being used to build a factory on nearly 10 hectares, according to Mr. Saron.
 
The capital would increase to $1.2 million to complete the project in three years and the project will benefit about 7,000 farmers directly, he said.
 
“During each harvest, the price always goes down,” Mr. Saron pointed out.
 
“So it is a measure to support farmers so that they are not forced to sell their agricultural products at that time and they can wait for the price to rise,” he said.
 
“During that period, we have to process the products to make sure the quality is not damaged. Now we have agricultural communities that can provide about 20 metric tons of produce in a month.”
 
Hean Vanhan, director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ general directorate of agriculture, welcomed the project and said it would be a good model to promote the farm sector.
 
“It is a new measure and we want to make agricultural products flow smoothly from producers to markets,” he said.
 
Research conducted by the Center for Policy Studies’ program shows that 200 to 400 metric tons of vegetables are imported daily from neighboring countries. The research also found that between $150 million and $250 million is spent annually on vegetable imports from Vietnam, Thailand and China.
 
In a bid to curb the huge capital outflow, the government has designated eight provinces to start boosting vegetable production from this year in a project called Boosting Food Projection 2017-2019. The project has a budget of some $20 million, of which about $10 million is for the production of vegetables and other crops.

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