Japan Shows Interest in Expanding Agricultural Imports from Cambodia
Japan has expressed an interest in expanding its imports of agricultural products from Cambodia, with a particular focus on cashew nuts. The Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, Ueno Atsushi, emphasized the need for Cambodian exporters to enhance the quality of their products to meet the stringent standards of the Japanese market. He also underscored the necessity for individual negotiation assistance for the agricultural sector under the official Japanese agency ODA.
Boosting Bilateral Trade
Despite the current exports being marginal, Japan is open to importing more agricultural products from Cambodia. Both countries, which have been part of the Regional Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP) agreement since early 2022, are exploring the possibility of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement. Japan is a significant trading partner for Cambodia, with exports last year amounting to $1.93 billion, marking a 10.5% increase from the previous year.
Expanding the Crop Portfolio
A Japanese firm has suggested that Cambodian farmers cultivate barley as an alternative cash crop for exports. The firm plans to introduce barley to Cambodian farmers and aims to export it to Japan. The Cambodian agriculture minister has advised that the company ensure a sustainable, long-term, and profitable market for the produce. The minister emphasized the importance of developing the agricultural sector by prioritizing the development of products that would enhance the livelihoods of farmers. He noted that while Cambodia excels in production and cultivation, significant investment is needed in value-added processing for export markets.
Exploring New Markets
Investors in the agricultural sector, particularly for new crop cultivation, are advised to thoroughly research their chosen areas, markets, and growing techniques to avoid market challenges. Barley cultivation is new to the region, and the company needs to employ appropriate techniques and offer training to farmers who intend to grow it. Given Cambodia’s geographical location, fertile soil, and favorable climate, foreign investors are keen on cultivating many crops suitable for the country’s weather.
Pepper Exports to Japan
Cambodia has been promoting the potential of its pepper among Japanese businesses and entrepreneurs, hoping to increase its export to Japan. An online workshop was held in collaboration with the Cambodia Pepper and Spices Federation and Japan Pepper Association to promote the potential of pepper to Japanese people. The workshop aimed to showcase the unique condition of Cambodia’s pepper, the demand for pepper in the Japanese market, and strengthen the quality of the commodity for export to Japan.
Inviting Japanese Investment
The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce also called for Japanese investors to invest in pepper production facilities in the Kingdom. After the workshop, it is hoped that Cambodia’s pepper will be well recognized and supported by Japanese people. The ministry is encouraging Japanese firms to consider investing and running businesses in Cambodia, particularly in the pepper planting and processing sector, among other potential products.
With the growing interest from Japan in expanding agricultural imports from Cambodia, the future looks promising for Cambodian farmers and the country’s economy. The potential for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement further strengthens the potential for increased trade between the two countries. This move could lead to sustainable economic growth and improved livelihoods for farmers in Cambodia, as well as contribute to the diversification and growth of the Japanese market.
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