Despite a challenging global landscape marked by geopolitical conflicts and high domestic paddy rice costs, Cambodia has showcased a remarkable performance in agricultural exports over the first 11 months of 2023. The Southeast Asian nation generated nearly $4 billion in revenue from the shipment of over 7.3 million tonnes of agricultural products to international markets. Although this marked a 4.6% decrease compared to the same period in 2022, the figures for November 2023 showed a promising upward trend, with over 1 million tonnes exported.
Breakdown of Agricultural Exports
The overall export figures included 595,630 tonnes of milled rice, 2,497,075 tonnes of paddy rice, and about 4,221,485 tonnes of other agricultural products. These products reached a staggering 75 countries and territories, with the total revenue breakdown being $515.22 million from milled rice, approximately $840.28 million from paddy rice, and around $2.554 billion from other agricultural products.
Factors Impacting Export Performance
While the performance is commendable, it is essential to identify and address the factors contributing to the slight decline in exports. These have been identified as geopolitical conflicts affecting international trade, high domestic paddy rice costs that impact competitiveness, and the presence of some undocumented transactions which may not reflect the true scale of export activities.
Enhancing Agricultural Export Capacity
In an effort to bolster the agricultural export capacity, stakeholders have emphasized the importance of supporting domestic products, implementing robust quality control for imports, and providing incentives for local production. The Cambodian government is also taking active measures to strengthen the agricultural sector. This includes plans to recruit agricultural officials for deployment in various communes. The first batch of recruitment aims to place 250 individuals in rice-cultivating communes, with an ambitious plan to recruit 800 more in 2024 and an additional 550 in 2025.