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The Cambodian government has suspended all fish exports

The Cambodian government has suspended all fish exports as it tries to stabilise domestic supply in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move comes in the wake of the government’s decision last week to also ban the export of all padi and white rice.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, Prime Minister Hun Sen said it was to avoid rising fish prices and ensure enough domestic supply.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told the Post that the government measures were to increase domestic stockpiles that were crucial to furthering Cambodia’s food security.

This, he said, will prevent shortages and price increases as the nation responds to the pandemic amid fears of food shortages.

However, no specific date has been given as to when the fish export ban becomes effective.

Meanwhile, Veng said his ministry was currently fortifying and expanding fish farming for local needs.

Every year, Cambodia exports a small amount of freshwater fish to neighbouring countries, while importing a substantial amount of seafood products to cater to restaurant demands.

Last year, Cambodia imported 130,000 tonnes of seafood.

As the country prepares for the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Economy and Finance Ministry said last week that an ad hoc working group for supply management and strategic goods would be established.

The working group will comprise representatives of the ministries of Economy and Finance; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Health; Commerce; Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Green Trade Company, and the Agricultural and Rural Development Bank.

The working group will be given key tasks such as identifying the strategic commodities that best serve daily life; monitoring the status of their demand, supply and prices, and ensure their viability and sustainability; and responding to a disruption to their supply chain.

According to an Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry report, last year Cambodia exported 9,190 tonnes of fresh fish products, down 3.4 per cent from 2018’s 8,880 tonnes, and 4,910 tonnes of processed fish products, down 1.8 per cent from 2018’s 4,820 tonnes.

The nation harvested 478,850 tonnes of freshwater fish last year and 122,250 tonnes of marine fisheries.

Aquaculture, fish and shrimp farming accounted for 307,408 tonnes of freshwater fisheries of the nation.

Source: New Straits Times