‘Safe vegetable’ MoU inked with Japan firm

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A farmer waters a vegetable field in Preah Sihanouk province. Hong Menea

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan’s Yamato Green Co Ltd on the cooperation, investment and development of the Kingdom’s ‘safe vegetable’ sub-sector for the domestic market and export.

The deal comes as part of the government’s ambitions to boost vegetable exports and take advantage of the EU market, which issued Vietnam and Thailand “red cards” temporarily blocking their exports to the bloc.

 

The MoU was signed at the ministry for four main purposes, it said in a press release.

First, the deal will further strengthen the friendly relations and cooperation between Cambodia and Japan with the latter’s hand in the development of the Kingdom’s agricultural sector.

Second, the contract will strengthen and expand cooperation in the investment and development of all stages of the vegetable production cycle from cultivation, processing, packaging and distribution. These will use state-of-the-art technology from Japan.

Third, the agreement will entail active engagement in improving the quality and safety of vegetables and the sustainability of supply to meet the demand and preferences of consumers and export markets.

Fourth, the pact will enhance the capacity of producers through the use of value chain technology and access to market trend data and other input.

Speaking as a witness at the signing ceremony for the MoU, Minister Veng Sakhon said it clearly reflects the will of the Japanese government to financially and technically support the development of the Cambodian vegetable production network and shape it to take advantage of the market’s needs.

 

He said the MoU’s four main objectives illustrate the active participation in the implementation of the government’s reform programme for the Cambodian vegetable production sector.

They highlight the modernisation of all vegetable production chains, and the transformation of family operations into agro-industrial production to ensure quantity, supply, quality and safety for domestic demand and export, he said.

“In the context of economic growth, and especially during these circumstances, with the world facing the Covid-19 crisis, this [the MoU] provides a golden opportunity for our farmers to change their habits and methods of production from merely meeting the needs of their families, and to position themselves to produce for trade and to meet market demand – that is, from ‘farmers to agri-traders’.

“The MoU signed today is suitable for both sides to meet each other’s needs concerning an interface with the vegetable production chain, starting from growing, maintenance, harvesting, packaging, refrigeration and market delivery, as well as input and feedback, research and technical dissemination, et cetera,” Sakhon said.

On behalf of the company’s directors and stakeholders in the project, Yamato Green Co Ltd founder and CEO Katsuhito Nabeshima said he would strive to use all the resources available to bring the latest technology in the sector.

“Ten Japanese companies will be involved in the comprehensive development of this vegetable production chain according to each skill, and of course, farmers as producers are indispensable partners in achieving this target,” he said.

On behalf of the companies, he asked the relevant ministries and institutions to fully cooperate to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the project on all sides.

Sakhon said he believes that the project will improve and modernise the Kingdom’s vegetable production chain, rendering it more socio-economically effective.

“We will be able to seize the opportunity to outpace export competition under the ‘Product of Cambodia’ brand, and this is our national pride.

“All stakeholders are kindly requested to cooperate and make the project a success as planned,” he said.