Vegetable planting in Cambodia is reported up dramatically, but the nation cannot end imports because local consumption is bigger than production, said Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon at the celebration of the seventhth national nutrition day in Kampong.
Sakhon said the ministry and all stakeholders are working together to successfully motivate and encourage local farmers to plant vegetables.
In recent years, the momentum of vegetable cultivation throughout Cambodia has increased significantly, to some 60,000 hectares, he added.
“Our vegetable harvesting has reached 640,000 tonnes per year, while our demand for vegetables is about 850,000 tonnes per year,” he underlined.
“Most of the Cambodian farmers are planting vegetables traditionally, depending on the weather, and have been doing so seasonally, therefore they cannot feed the market demand well enough,” said vegetable seller at Doeum Kar market Sum Sophea.
“Most of our local farmers have just started planting chili but our clients need chili daily, so I have to buy chili importsedfrom Vietnam”, she added.
According to Sophea, there are many different kinds of vegetables that have been imported from foreign countries, including Vietnam, Thailand and China.
Sophea said the crops that local farmers can grow and supply to the market on a daily basis are leafy vegetables such as mostly lettuce, and water spinach plus herbs while some goods such as tomatoes and chili can
be seasonal and tuberous vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and onions need to be imported.
Meas Pyseth, programme director of Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation, Resilience and Extension (ASPIRE), said with the support of the government and donors, the programme is introducing new farming technology to local farmers.
“In the beginning, ASPIRE was initiated for five pilot provinces – Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Preah Vihear and Kratie – but now all provinces need to increase the resilience of poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers in the Kingdom”, he said.
The ASPIRE Programme and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are trying to provide farming technology to local farmers in all sub-sectors to combat and remove barriers to market product distribution for smallholder farmers.
It wants to target producer groups in provinces to traders, investors, and the industrial sector, national and regional markets and corporations, he underlined.
Efforts to increase agricultural production in Cambodia are still a challenge, but the ministry and the government will continue to work to overcome all issues to help farmers increase their respective production capacities, insisted Sakhon.