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Gov’t call for urgent action on food security

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
An immediate inventory of the Kingdom’s rice and paddy stocks have been ordered by Veng Sakhon, the agriculture minister. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon has ordered all agriculture departments to take immediate measures to ensure the food security of the country in response to the the outbreak of COVID-19.

Veng Sakhon told the General Directorate of Agriculture to record the stock of paddy and rice in rice mills, communities and in each household to get a clear picture of the food situation and identify the potential areas to grow vegetables.

Veng also demanded that the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production make an estimate on the amount of local demand for meat supply in 2020.

The purpose is to provide a foundation for raising livestock levels to ensure adequate supplies of meat during the pandemic.

“It is to involve all relevant stakeholders, including the private sector, to ensure food security. The Capital and Provincial Agriculture Departments must also take serious action to prevent the illegal smuggling of  animals and meat,” Veng added.

In addition, Veng also instructed the Fisheries Administration to estimate the demand and supply of aquatic products to ensure that they fulfill domestic demand, the market price is stable and to make sure there is enough stock for people.

Late last month, The Ministry of Agriculture reassured the public that there is no need to panic over potential food shortages. Veng declared that Cambodia has abundant supplies of staples such as rice, meat, vegetables and fish to meet national demand.

“In terms of food security in Cambodia, there should be no concern. We have enough rice in stock, pig farming can produce up to 80 percent of meat supplies and both the fishing industry and vegetable production industry are supplying stock normally so, all in all, our agriculture sector is working well,” Veng said.

Cambodia’s annual demand for meat from pigs is around 2.9 million tonnes a year. Livestock supplies increased by 37 percent in 2019 compared with 2018, and meat supplies have increased from 209,000 tonnes in 2015 up to 239,000 tonnes in 2019. In terms of rice stock, official figures show that in 2019, the total yield was 10.88 million tonnes, with a surplus of 5.76 million tonnes once both domestic and international needs were met.

Total crop production, including bananas, cassava and sugar cane, totalled 16 million in 2019 and just under half of that volume was exported.

Both natural and farmed fish supplies also increased in 2019. Some 908,000 tonnes were available for consumption in 2019, representing a 21 percent rise on 2018.

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