Cambodians consumed an average of 540 tonnes of vegetables a day last year, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Agriculture, who urged farmers to boost production to meet rapidly growing domestic demand.
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The Ministry report shows that Cambodia was able to produce just 400 tonnes of vegetables a day in 2018, which means that about 140 tonnes had to be imported daily, mostly from Vietnam, Thailand, and China.
Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture, on Friday said vegetable production has increased substantially in recent months, but added that the country is still reliant on imports.
The minister called for greater production of local vegetables that meet quality and safety standards.
“Due to strong economic growth, an increase in living standards and the influx of tourists, demand for quality and safe vegetables is rising fast,” he said.
In September 2017, a government project to boost the production of chemical-free vegetables took-off. The project, called Boosting Food Project, has a budget of $20 million.
It is being implemented in Takeo, Kandal, Prey Veng, Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Battambang, Siem Reap, and Tboung Khmum.
Srey Vuthy, spokesman at the Ministry of Agriculture, told Khmer Times that the Boosting Food Project has already borne fruit, increasing local vegetable production and helping reduce imports.
“In the next five years we plan to increase vegetable production by about 20 to 30 percent,” Mr Vuthy said. “We are focusing on building irrigation infrastructure so that we can produce vegetables all year round.”
The Ministry of Agriculture recently launched a national seed strategy, which aims to regulate and standardise the seed industry to protect farmers and bolster the seed market.
The seed strategy, the first of its kind for the country, outlines a set of national strategic actions for the production and marketing of seeds for rice and other major agricultural crops.