Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for an increase in the production of vegetables and livestock locally to supply domestic demand as the government unveiled plans to reduce imports of them.
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Chemical-free vegetable production is needed to supply locals and tourists, Mr Hun Sen said on Tuesday at a graduation ceremony. He called for careful checks on imported commodities, particularly regarding quality supervision, inspection and any need quarantine to prevent diseases spreading.
“[Officials] have to inspire our people to grow chemical-free vegetables and to reduce imports from abroad. We must boost domestic cultivation,” Mr Hun Sen said, adding local products are also in demand by visitors.
“We have to promote our local market. Our market is not just to be focused on exports from abroad. Currently, tourists consume products that are imported, including vegetables. We have to strengthen the ability of farmers to plant food and feed livestock to supply the local market.”
Tong Chantheang, executive director of Cambodia Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), applauded the call, but urged the government to support irrigation systems to ensure production of vegetablesacross a whole year. “Domestic production of vegetables isn’t enough to supply domestic demand. We need to import because we produce vegetables seasonally. In the dry season there is a need for water in some places. Then farmers can produce goods for the local market,” Tong said.