Agricultural industry to account for 32 percent of Cambodia’s GDP hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: WB)

Phnom Penh (VNA) -
The agricultural industry is on track to account for 32 percent of Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of the year as a large number of the country’s workforce moves into the sector, said a researcher.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath predicted that the agricultural labour force had ballooned between 30 and 40 percent during the span of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The growth of the agricultural sector is due to the fact that some of the remaining labour force from the services sector turned to agriculture, with the workforce integration leading to a larger production volume,” Sereyvath was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post newspaper as saying.

He said the food processing industry, fruit and vegetable processing are prominent sub-sectors – the top segments after garments. Pepper, mango, fish and meat processing will all absorb a greater market share.

The government predicted that the Cambodian economy will shrink by 1.9 percent this year due to impacts of COVID-19.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said the government is aiming for a three percent annual growth rate of agricultural value added – the net output of the agricultural sector after adding up all outputs and subtracting the value of intermediate inputs.

He said the government also aspires to increase agricultural labour productivity – the annual output per agricultural worker – from 1,839 USD last year to 4,625 USD by 2030.

The agricultural sector is an important engine of economic growth and could enjoy a one percent surge this year, he said, adding agriculture remains crucial considering the downswing experienced by industry and services.

Cambodian agricultural product exports blossomed from nearly 1 billion USD in 2013 to 1.5 billion USD last year./.