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Vietnam asked to invest in rubber

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Latex being collected from a tapped rubber tree in Cambodia. KT/Ven Rathavong

Cambodia is seeking Vietnamese investment to build factories that can process rubber and cassava, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

During a meeting last week with a Vietnamese rubber association, Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon reminded Vietnamese investors of the many opportunities that the Cambodian agricultural sector offers and asked them to come to the kingdom to establish rubber and cassava processing factories.

“There is great potential in our agricultural sector, but we have few processing factories in the country due to the high cost of electricity and the capital investment required,” said Hean Vanhan, the director-general of the General Directorate of Agriculture, who was part of the Cambodian delegation visiting Vietnam.

Mr Vanhan said Vietnamese investors would be bringing with them more advanced technologies that could help develop the local rubber sector.

Cambodia produced 115,843 metric tonnes of rubber during the first nine months of 2017, an increase of 33 percent compared with the same period last year, according to official figures from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Vietnam and Malaysia were the main markets for Cambodian rubber.

Pol Sopha, the director-general of the Rubber Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, who did not attend the meeting, said the government is now prioritising building rubber factories as a way to boost employment in the country.

“We have few rubber processing factories in the country and the government wants to build more to keep the price of the commodity stable,” Mr Sopha said.

Lim Heng, the vice-president of An Mady Group, said Vietnamese investors could play an important role in advancing the local rubber sector.

“It is good if Vietnamese investors come because they will bring more advanced technologies, as well as recognisable brands,” he said.

“We need more investors from Vietnam, China, Thailand and South Korea. Local investors are afraid their products won’t find a market because they are lacking recognisable brand names and quality.”

The government is also working on opening the Chinese market to direct rubber exports, as now shipments of rubber need to go through Vietnam, according to Mr Sopha.

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