PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): Cambodia formally exported 8.6 million tonnes of agricultural products to 74 markets last year worth nearly US$5 billion, up 7.8 per cent from the 7.9 million tonnes booked in 2021, as agriculture contributed 22.2 per cent of the Kingdom’s 2022 gross domestic product (GDP), according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina.
Included in the export total were 637,000 tonnes of milled rice, up 3.23 per cent from 617,000 tonnes in 2021, and 5.78 million tonnes of non-rice agricultural products, up from 5.01 million tonnes in 2021, Tina noted at his ministry’s annual meeting, according to a statement issued in conjunction with the event.
These figures suggest that formal rice agricultural exports that were not included in the “milled” total (mainly paddy) fell in the range of 2.127-2.163 million tonnes – accounting for rounding – compared to 2.295-2.329 million tonnes in 2021. Virtually all formal paddy exports tend to be shipped to neighbouring Vietnam.
For comparison, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body earlier put the 2022 paddy export total at 3.4 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, crop production reached 34.71 million tonnes, broken down into the categories of horticultural (4.42 million tonnes), industrial (18.67 million tonnes) and rice (11.62 million tonnes), the last of which represented a surplus of 6.29 million tonnes, Tina added.
The ministry has been “responsibly” working to accelerate development of the agricultural sector, as prescribed in the Rectangular Strategy Phase IV and National Policy for Agricultural Development 2022-2030, he assured in the statement.
To enhance crop cultivation capacity and ensure food security and sustainable development in 2023, the ministry has adopted strategies geared towards – inter alia – energy and cost efficiency, modern technologies and methods, the use of genetically-pure seeds, production support infrastructure, low-interest loans, contract farming, networking among growers, and commercialisation, he added.
For reference, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently estimated the 2022 nominal GDP for Cambodia at $28.330 billion, thus offering a ballpark approximation for agriculture’s contribution at $6.274-6.304 billion.