February 1, 2024
PHNOM PENH – The Korean Senior Citizens Association of Cambodia (KSCAC) and its South Korean partners are keen to invest in seven Cambodian agricultural products for export to Korea and China.
Crops targeted include dried pepper and mango, banana chips, sesame oil, aquaculture products, and kapok and rubber tree processing.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has advised the association to thoroughly study and analyse the economic viability of these crops to ensure successful investment, said a January 28 press release.
During a meeting between ministry secretary of state Prak David and KSCAC vice-president Kim Moon-baik, along with other Korean companies, the parties extensively discussed investing in the crops, with a particular focus on sesame.
Kim commended the quality and taste of Cambodian agricultural products, noting their popularity in Korea and the intention to expand exports to the Japanese and Chinese markets.
David expressed his pleasure at the company’s interest in exploring the potential of the country’s agricultural goods, noting that such investment aligns with the government’s policies.
“This initiative can greatly benefit under the framework of the free trade agreements [FTAs] with China [CCFTA] and South Korea [CKFTA], as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP],” he said.
However, he advised further study and economic analysis of certain crops, particularly sesame.
“After testing, if it proves successful and more economically viable than other crops, the [ministry] will persist in facilitating the project to establish connections with new farming communities in Cambodia. The ministry also urges companies to seek partners with appropriate land for developing their agricultural projects within Cambodia,” David said.
Hun Lak, CEO of Tropicam Fruit and Vegetable Co Ltd and Longmate Agriculture Co Ltd, highlighted the need for significant private sector investment in Cambodian agriculture, a core sector of the country.
He noted on January 28 that climate change poses a threat to food security, increasing the market value of agricultural products and the potential for future investment.
However, he noted that climate change also raises the cost of agricultural raw materials.
“It’s encouraging that Korean companies are showing interest in investing. However, we also urge investors to carefully consider the incorporation of advanced technology … This is particularly important for products planned for investment, to minimise the risk of infections in native plant species that could adversely affect crops,” he said.
According to the ministry, 19,088ha of horticultural crops were planted in 2023, amounting to 53.4% of the planned 35,744ha, surpassing the previous year’s figure by 3,570ha. Industrial crops covered 62,474ha, equating to 56.51% of the planned 110,557ha, exceeding the previous year by 4,225ha.
The report also stated that in 2023, the estimated value of agricultural exports stood at $4.306 billion, with non-rice agricultural exports valued at $2.799 billion.