Cambodia flag

Experts in Cambodia are urging farmers to diversify their production, encouraging them to switch from the country’s main crop, rice, to alternatives such as vegetables.

Cambodia’s agriculture industry has recorded strong growth in recent years, according to a World Bank study, helping to reduce the number of people in poverty from 7m in 2007 to 3m in 2012.

Figures from the World Bank point out the difference in earning potential of vegetables compared with common crops like rice and cassava. On average, vegetables make returns of US$1,575 per hectare compared with US$544 for cassava and only US$307 for rice.

However, Chan Sophal, director of the Center for Policy Studies for Cambodia Development, said that it would be difficult for farmers to change crops due to a lack of the necessary skills, technology and investment to grow vegetables.

Most vegetables in Cambodia are currently imported from Vietnam and Thailand, although Sophal suggested that support from the government and private investment could help to transform this situation.