The Agriculture Minister, Veng Sakhon, last week urged officials to work harder in the implementation of the country’s new agriculture development policy.
During a meeting last week, Mr Sakhon told officials the goal of the agricultural development policy is to bolster the development of the agriculture sector. It will ensure food security and nutrition and will help reduce poverty. It will also boost productivity, diversification, as well as the commercialisation of the final products.
He said the policy will help achieve sustainability in the sector and resilience to climate change, as well as aid in the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices in animal production, animal health and the management of fisheries.
“The agriculture development policy will also contribute to reduce losses in soil quality and land sustainability, as well as prevent a fall in the quality of our ecological system. All specialised departments must prepare zoning systems to match the right crops with the right soils.
“There is also the need to encourage the private sector to bring new technology as well as the latest machinery to develop new crop varieties and new packaging facilities that are recognised by local and international buyers,” he said.
Mr Sakhon added that the policy will also boost collaboration among multiple parties to promote contract farming schemes. He said this will help build trust between farmers and traders.
Data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance shows that agricultural growth has slowed down to one percent during the last five years. From 2008 to 2012, the sector grew a pace of 4.5 percent a year, and from 2003 to 2007, at 7.2 percent. During the last five years, agriculture accounted for 27.1 percent of GDP, down from 33.6 percent from 2008 to 2012.
The data also revealed that growth in crop output dropped to 1.1 percent from 2013 to 2017, down from 5.5 percent in 2008-2012 and 12.1 percent in 2003-2007.
The slowdown in the agriculture sector stemmed from low productivity, failure to push agriculture products in domestic and international markets, climate change and the lack of expansion of cultivated land, said the report.
It said productivity in Cambodia decreased four-fold compared with Vietnam and Thailand. Productivity grew in the country at a rate of 5.3 percent in the last five years while it grew at a rate of 20 percent from 2008 to 2012.
The area of land under cultivation grew by just 1.87 percent in the last five years, while it was growing at a rate of 6.7 percent from 2008 to 2012.