A government delegation from Sierra Leone is now in Cambodia to explore partnership opportunities, particularly in the agriculture sector.
As expressed during a meeting on Monday between the Cambodian Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon and his Sierra Leone counterpart Joseph J. Ndanema, the Sub-Saharan African country is interested in importing Cambodian rice.
Mr. Ndanema said during the meeting that now is the right time for both nations to engage in comprehensive cooperation.
He praised the local agriculture sector for its swift development in recent years, and added that his country can learn from what Cambodia has achieved.
“The success that Cambodia enjoys today, especially in rice production, is widely recognised worldwide. Its rice is considered to be high quality and delicious, which is why it is being exported to markets all over the world,” he said, adding that Cambodian rice is now ranked number one in the world.
Mr. Ndanema was likely referring to this year’s World Best Rice competition in Hanoi, Vietnam, where local brand Malys Angkor took home the award for best rice.
“Sierra Leone has been building and developing gradually, however, rice production is facing problems that affect food security,” he said.
“This is the main reason the delegates decided to visit the Kingdom of Cambodia today to study the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the import of milled rice from Cambodia,” Mr Joseph said.
MrSakhon said that rice is not the only area where Cambodia has seen impressive achievements. “The Kingdom has also been praised for its excellent cassava, mango, and cashew nuts,” he said, adding that these crops offer tempting investment opportunities in processing and export.
“We exchanged experiences regarding training and skills development, organising and managing farmer communities, applying agricultural extension services, as well as collecting market information such as the price of agricultural products, especially vegetables.
“We have agreed to strengthen and expand agriculture cooperation between the two countries in the future,” Mr Sakhon said
“Meanwhile, the government has now set out strategic plans and policies on the development of major supporting infrastructure such as roads, ports, and the power supply.
“In particular, the ministry has been promoting human resource development, diversifying agricultural commercialisation by modernising agriculture and promoting packaging and processing to increase Cambodia’s agricultural exports in the future,” he added.
According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cambodia exported 389,264 tonnes of rice in the first nine months of 2018, a drop of 8.4 percent. China continues to be Cambodia’s top export market.