The Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community has expressed its support to the governmental ban on the import of pesticide-laden produce. Its support came with the aim to strengthen the presence of local farmers in the market.
CCFC director Theng Savoeun told Khmer Times: “From what we have learned so far, many vegetables and fruits are being imported from our neighbouring countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam, daily to supply the local demand. Due to our country’s limited checking system, many pesticide-laden produce have later been found in our market, raising concerns regarding people’s health and well-being.”
Cambodia, he said, is an agricultural country which presents many opportunities for farming. As such, an act banning the entry of such products to the Kingdom not only improves public health but also improves local employment and economy.
“We can produce more chemical-free crops at lower prices if the government provides financial and technical support to its farmers. If the government could ban more pesticide-laden agricultural products from being imported into the Kingdom, our farmers could have a bigger market to supply,” said Mr Savoeun, as he acknowledged the currently steep costs of organic produce.
However, Ngin Chhay, director-general of the agriculture department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said the country could not depend on locally produced greens as the farming capacity in Cambodia remains low.
“To date, we can only produce 70 percent of the local demand of vegetables and fruits, which means we must import 30 percent from our neighbouring countries,” Mr Chhay.