Hun Sen Talks Up Agriculture at ASEAN Meeting

Addressing delegates at the start of an Asean ministerial meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Hun Sen called for increased regional cooperation in the field of agriculture and food security.

“Agriculture improvement is a very important sector to guarantee the food security of each country as well as the concern of food deprivation in the world, which is caused by climate change,” Mr Hun Sen said.

The premier’s remarks came at the opening of the 32nd Asean Ministers for Agriculture and Forestry meeting at his newly constructed offices in Phnom Penh. The meeting is part of a weeklong series of Asean events held in Phnom Penh and scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.

“The improvement of agriculture is having a problem, so Asean and Asean+3 countries have to cooperate for a consensual solution to improve agriculture, reduce risk of food crisis, the unstable price of agriculture tools and the threat from drought and flooding,” Mr Hun Sen said.

The premier also called for a regional information network to aid agricultural exports.

“I suggest the meeting should take care of cooperation on techniques and investment in agriculture…and have to set up and improve the information network concerning Asean+3 in the future,” he said.

He said the Cambodian government would make developing the agriculture industry a priority in the future.

On Aug 17 Mr Hun Sen launched an ambitious plan to develop the country’s ability to export rice, calling for exports to reach a millions tons per year by 2015

Yang Saing Koma, director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said knowledge-sharing among regional partners was key to the development of the sector. He said the center often conducts such exchanges and recently hosted delegations from Thailand and the Philippines.

“We learned from them and they learned from us,” he said.

Phou Puy, president of the Cambodian Rice Millers Association, said increased regional cooperation would allow exporters to better understand the market and find the right country in which to sell their goods.

“We learn about rice prices in neighboring countries just by searching the Internet,” he said.


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