Australia will help Cambodia maximize the income it generates from its agricultural products by setting up its first Agri-food Industrial Park (AIP). This will process local farm produce, including mangoes, bananas, cashews, rice, and vegetables.
Processing Agricultural Products Into More Valuable Staples
Cambodia is a huge exporter of farm products, including bananas, milled rice, mangoes, and most recently, longans. In 2022, it exported 7.62 million tons of agricultural products and generated a revenue of $3.07 billion, based on the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) report.
According to the Australian Embassy, 95% of this agricultural produce is generally sold raw to its adjacent ASEAN countries. These buyer countries will then process it into more valuable staples, such as jams, juice, flour, biofuel, and more.
Cambodia should improve its processing competitiveness and add value to its major crops. It includes cassava, cashew, rice, vegetables, banana, and vegetables to name a few. The country must have its own agri-food processing facilities, which it can also use for domestic and export markets.
“To achieve this, Cambodia needs to invest in its agri-food processing facilities. That’s why Australia is working with Cambodia to set up its first AIP. This AIP will offer shared agri-food processing facilities, research and development, capacity building, and an inclusive and safe workplace and environment, especially for women and marginalised employees,” said the Australian Embassy.
Based on the Cambodian government’s 2022 pilot scheme, the AIP will contribute $5.1 billion to the country’s economy by 2045. Additionally, it will generate new 100,000 jobs, of which half are for women.
Anticipation for Future Job Challenges
As Cambodia becomes an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income region by 2050, there would be several factors involved. Fitting the fastest-growing jobs means reskilling and upskilling the workforce. Based on the Future of Jobs Report 2023 survey, nearly a quarter of jobs will change in the next five years.
“Governments and businesses must invest in supporting the shift to the jobs of the future through education, reskilling and social support structures that can ensure individuals are at the heart of the future of work,” Saadia Zahidi, WEF Managing Director.
The establishment of the Agri-food Industrial Park will become a big help to a larger part of Cambodia’s population. Locals will no longer have to find work abroad and become victims of human trafficking because they’ll be able to learn new skills. Women and youth can have a place in the industry and be able to help augment their families income.
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