Did you know that 95 per cent of Cambodian agricultural produce is sold raw to neighbouring countries where it is processed into more valuable products? Cambodia could benefit from processing its agricultural produce into higher value products like jam, juice, rice crackers, baby food, flour and even biofuel, and selling these products at higher price to the international market. 

 

Australia’s flagship economic development program, the Cambodia Australia Partnership for Resilient Economic Development (CAPRED), is working with the government, development partners and the private sector to make agricultural produce more competitive in Cambodia. CAPRED is supporting the development of better processing infrastructure, building knowledge and capacity and increasing Cambodia’s access to international markets. 

 

Building connections with Australian investors 

 

In April 2023, CAPRED organised a visit to Australia for key Cambodian officials and businesses to understand the challenges and opportunities of establishing agri-food industrial parks, and how the Australian government can support them in addressing challenges and capitalising on opportunities. The delegation learnt about the roles of the public sector, industry, and research and ecosystem building in the establishment of agri-food industrial parks.

 

The trip was also an opportunity for Cambodian officials and businesses to present their investment potential and plans to advance domestic agro-processing to potential investors. Among them was SPC Global, a renowned Australian agribusiness with over a century of experience in processing and packaging fruit and vegetable products. 

 

SPC already sources some of its inputs from Southeast Asia and they expressed an interest in expanding operations to Cambodia to source produce such as mango, rambutan, longan, and dragon fruit. This was their first introduction to potential Cambodian suppliers, coordinated by CAPRED.

 

One month later, CAPRED organised another visit to Australia for Cambodian agri-food enterprises and business associations to connect with investors, grocery retailers, government, and businesses. The trip comprised of 37 delegates, 14 of whom were business owners from Cambodia. 

SPC Global was once again among the businesses visited and they had the opportunity to sample Cambodian products. The visit further highlighted the opportunities in Cambodia and reaffirmed SPC’s interest in the Cambodian market. 

 

Visit of SPC Global to Cambodia 

 

A few weeks later, Mr Hussein Rifai, Chairman of SPC Global and Mr Matthew McMichael, SPC’s Chief Operating Officer, visited Cambodia to explore the investment potential of establishing an agricultural processing facility in Cambodia. 

 

During their visit, SPC Global met with six agri-food companies in Cambodia, including Kirirom Food Production in Kampong Speu and LyLy Food Industry Co. in Phnom Penh. They also met with Navita Food Production, Misota Food Cambodia, SHE Agrocam, and Royal Trust. 

 

“Cambodia is an ideal country for us to find new agricultural opportunities — especially in fruits and vegetables that don’t grow or are currently unavailable in Australia. SPC can provide Australian food expertise and knowhow that will enable the development of innovative food products of the highest global quality while developing the agri-food industry in Cambodia,” said Mr Rifai. 

 

He continued, “the agri-food sector is one of Cambodia’s key focus sectors and Australia is already supporting its development. We are grateful to CAPRED for bringing this opportunity to our attention and are already progressing discussions with a couple of the businesses they introduced to us.” 

 

SPC Global subsequently declared an interest in investing in and sourcing products from some of the six companies they visited. More updates on the deal between SPC Global and those Cambodian agri-food companies will be available on CAPRED’s website.