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Kingdom, Oz strike agri-food desk deal

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A farmer harvests cucumbers at Koh Dach commune in Phnom Penh's Chroy Changvar district. Hong Menea

Kingdom, Oz strike agri-food desk deal

Cambodia and Australia have reached consensus on financing arrangements to operationalise the Agri-Food Investment Desk (AFID) at the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), purposed to enhance investment and promote development in the Kingdom’s agri-food sector, according to the CDC on September 29.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect was virtually signed earlier in the day, by CDC secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang, on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the CDC said in a statement.

Drawn up under the framework of the Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Value Chain (Cavac) programme, the MoU will serve as an important instrument to bring about more investment, promote agri-food development and enhance competitiveness in the agriculture sector, it said.

The AFID will enable a stronger foundation for a resilient agri-food industry in Cambodia through investment diversification in terms of resources and level of technology and innovation usage, while creating higher value-added employment for Cambodians in the sector, it added.

The CDC’s Chenda Sophea appreciated the Australian foreign department’s technical assistance for the council and ministry to undertake investment promotion activities under the Cavac programme, saying its contributions will “accelerate the recovery of Cambodia’s economy in the post-Covid-19 ‘new normal’ transition”.

“Moreover, the new Law on Investment of the Kingdom of Cambodia will provide a smart-incentives scheme for investment made in different sectors.

“Meanwhile, the agriculture and agri-food have been classified as priority sectors that shall be further promoted to ensure that they are adequately resilient and sustainable, to contribute to economic stability amid the Covid-19 crisis.”

The ambassador brought attention to the Australian government’s commitment to support Cambodia’s economic development process, highlighting improvements in productivity in the agricultural sector achieved by joint promotion efforts for the agri-food segment.

“This financing arrangement is one more step in reinforcing Australian contribution aimed at complementing the Royal Government’s efforts to promote, attract and retain investments in [the] agriculture, agri-business and agri-food sectors,” Kang said.

From 1994 to August 31 this year, CDC said to have approved 376 investment projects in the fields of agriculture and agro-industry, with registered capital amounting to nearly $9.7 billion.

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