Roads Are Key to Agricultural Goals, Premier Tells Investors

Speaking in Battambang pro­vince’s Thma Koul district, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday urged Chinese investors to invest more money in Cambodia’s agriculture sector to help to improve rice and other produce.

Addressing Chinese Ambassador Pan Guangxue, Mr Hun Sen said, “You know that rice and rice milling here are good. But the processing machinery here is not good. So, your Excellency, send them here,” referring to investors. “Set up a factory, a processing machine and open markets for farmers, which could lead to contract agriculture.”

Mr Hun Sen said that the renovation of the 167-km National Road 57B, financed with a loan from China, would be another step in improving trade.

“This road will give lots of benefit to our people,” he said. “The land for agriculture, including rice, we have more than 225,000 hectares. So Battambang is still a rice base and an agricultural center and it might grow to become an agribusiness center.”

Phou Puy, president of the Fed­eration of Cambodian Rice Millers Association, said the number of millers had increased in the past two years but that more was required to reach rice export goals.

“We have a number of millers now, but we still need more financial support from local and international investors to improve the product quality and quantity,” he said.

Mr Hun Sen apologized to the people of Battambang for not providing a national road sooner and said companies should be required to make higher monetary deposits to bid on road construction contracts.

“I was cheated two times. The first one was road number 6. Completed with soil and only a few hoes, the company asked for money from people and set conditions to get to the mountain to obtain rocks,” he said. “And this road also,” he added, referring to National Road 57B, which is to be renovated.

“Being a twice-jilted lover, I decided to…look for a loan from China,” Mr Hun Sen said.

“In the future, the deposit money has to be quite a big amount. And if they don’t fulfill the contract, we will take the deposit money,” he said.


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