Supporting Cambodian Cassava by “Business-Matching”

Sep 22, 2014

Cambodian delegates visiting Bagui Garden, Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center in Nanning, Guangxi

The China-Cambodia-UNDP trilateral cassava project, the first pilot trilateral cooperation project between China and UNDP, successfully completed Phase II with a week-long “Business-Matching” mission. From September 15th to 22nd, the Cambodian delegation met with relevant Chinese government officials, representatives from the local cassava companies and experts in Nanning and Fangchenggang, Guangxi province. The 17 Cambodian delegates, including government officials, cassava farmers, processors and exporters, came to make strong business connections and study cassava import and export regulations with key stakeholders in China’s cassava industry.  

Mr. Tang Renjian, Vice Governor of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, met with the delegation to discuss the importance of cassava in Guangxi, China. Guangxi has the largest cassava production base in China, with cassava production accounting for more than two-thirds of the country’s total production. Production of cassava in Guangxi was about 1.83 million tons in 2013, an increase of around 1 percent from the previous year. Cassava is also one of the priority agricultural products for development in Guangxi, with the country’s main cassava processing enterprises based in Guangxi.

Cassava also plays an important role in agriculture, economic growth and development in Cambodia. It is the second agricultural crop after rice. Cambodia’s cassava production has expanded exponentially with most products currently exported informally to Thailand and Vietnam.

However, as the world’s largest importer of cassava products, China is a major potential market for Cambodian cassava. Guangxi has accumulated substantial experience and skills in cassava cultivation and processing which can be shared with the Cambodians. The province also hosts the country’s only cassava research center called the Guangxi Cassava Research Institute. Thus, this trilateral project aims to mobilize Chinese knowledge and expertise to address the challenges faced in Cambodia’s cassava sector and promote direct export of cassava to the Chinese market.

The business-matching mission further strengthened the business connections needed to make cassava products from Cambodia a reality in China. It will help move Cambodian producers (especially smallholders), processors and exporters of cassava up the value chain, therefore achieving more sustained growth of the sector, increased revenue and employment generation. It helped Cambodian producers, processors and exporters to better assess and understand Chinese market requirements for exporting commodities to China. In that process, a key impact of the project will be to promote job creation and poverty reduction for broad segments of the Cambodian population, including those in some of the poorest regions of the country.For the Government of China, this project reflects China's efforts to further deepen and broaden its cooperation with other developing countries pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between China and UNDP in September 2010.

This business-matching was a key, but just one component of the trilateral project agreement between Cambodia, China and UNDP.  Other components include a needs assessment, an environmental impact assessment, the development of training materials, and an exports handbook.  These are due for completion within the coming months.

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