Cambodia is in a very strong position to ramp up agricultural exports to the rest of the region, according to the president of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia.
Dalton Wong’s comments came during a meeting of agricultural businesses from both countries, discussing the opportunities and advantages of small and medium-sized agri-food companies working directly with farmers.
“Cambodia may be one of the smallest countries in the region but it is definitely one of the most strategic in terms of geographic advantage, one of the most dynamic in terms of business investment climate, one of the most promising in terms of demographic profile – more than 30 percent of the population is under 25 years old,” Wong said. “Most importantly, the political risk is also one of the lowest in the region.”
Wong praised the Cambodian government for signing a deal last year with Singapore logistics company YCH to develop the multi-million dollar Phnom Penh Logistics Complex (PPLC). He said it would improve efficiency and productivity through better warehousing, transportation, digitalisation and training. Studies have shown PPLC will reduce transportation times by 48 hours and cut costs, he said.
Sela Pepper General Manager Sopha Soeng told the webinar audience better products and marketing are as important as logistics when selling agricultural products overseas.
“We are busy improving ourselves to improve the quality of our design and packaging. The Cambodian government is trying hard as well to promote Cambodian agricultural products to the outside [world],” she said.
Sela Pepper works with more than 600 farmers in the Memot district of Tboung Khmum province. It has its own drying, sterilising, packaging and distribution network to help it sell high-quality spices in Asia, Europe and the US.
The webinar also heard from Indra Ardiyanto, communication head at Indonesia’s Great Giant Foods, one of the top three canned pineapple producers in the world. Ardiyanto said looking after farmers and getting globally-recognised certification are vital for selling products in markets such as the EU and US.
“We are among the industry leaders in good agricultural practices. We are assessed in several categories such as food safety, eco-friendly processes, worker safety and welfare, traceability and export quality,” he said
“Our company has fulfilled the various certificates so the distribution process can take place both nationally and internationally.”
Indonesia is trying to increase trade with Cambodia, holding a virtual expo from Oct 21 to Nov 4 to promote its products.
Bilateral trade grew by an average 10.26 percent between 2015 and 2019. Trading volume jumped more than 18 percent in 2019, compared with the previous year. It slid nearly 11 percent in 2020 because of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.