Skip to main content

Supporting the competitiveness of Cambodia’s fisheries SMEs

28 April 2023

CAPFish handover ceremony April 2023

PHNOM PENH – In Cambodia, post-harvest fishery activities employ an estimated 33,000 people, the majority of them women, and the sector is one of the country’s main sources of income generation and job creation.

However, the sector is represented by micro and small informal enterprises, which are fragmented and constrained by a lack of access to finance, technologies, markets, and tailored business development technical support. They produce a variety of agri-food and fish and fishery products with inadequate hygienic and food safety practices, and thus struggle to compete with imported products and to export to global markets.

The CAPFISH-Capture: Postharvest Fisheries Development project focuses on building capacities of businesses as well as the country’s support institutions. The project is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in cooperation with Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration (FiA), support institutions and private sector fishery businesses.

Part of the project is Value Chain Investment Support (VCIS), a co-investment scheme, launched in August 2021, which incentivizes enterprises in Cambodia’s post-harvest fisheries to upgrade their business operations and implement food safety and social and environmental standards. At least 200 fisheries processing enterprises are being targeted for the support to improve competitiveness and market access.

Twenty-eight enterprises have been selected to receive technical and investment support, and at a recent ceremony representatives received technology, equipment and materials needed for more effective and efficient business operations and production, and improved compliance with food safety and environmental requirements.

Solar dryer domes and solar panels are examples of green technologies promoted under the VCIS scheme, while the equipment and materials included water treatment machines, packing machines, hot air-dryer machines, rapid freezers and cold storage facilities.

At the handover ceremony, Gunther Beger, Managing Director of UNIDO’s Directorate for SDG Innovation and Economic Transformation, said the EU-funded CAPFISH programme “gives us a big opportunity to promote green industrialization and build sustainable value chains for poverty reduction and job creation to make the agri-food sector the engine for growth and prosperity in the country.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Carmen Moreno, Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia, highlighted the importance of “contributing together to the development of a greener, more competitive and connected economy, and of promoting Cambodian small and medium enterprises’ integration into ASEAN and global markets.”

Morena continued, “To achieve this goal, compliance with food safety standards, such as certification systems, is essential” and “is needed to access any market, and get ready for the most valuable markets, such as the European Union”

Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, emphasized the importance of the fisheries sector in Cambodia and appreciated the CAPFISH programme as strong support from the European Union. He commented that “CAPFISH supports are in line with the Royal Government of Cambodia policy to promote food safety and access to international markets and to improve the fishery value chain.”

The EU’s Moreno said she believes that the success of the VCIS intervention can be replicated for other agricultural commodities rather than just fish and fishery products. “It is in line with the European Union’s commitment to supporting a green economy in Cambodia by focusing on the food, agriculture and forests sector, including the agro-processing industry.”

For more information, please contact:

Chhoun Chamnan, Department of Fisheries Post-harvest Technologies and Quality Control (DFPTQ) of the Fisheries Administration

Samruol Im, National Communication and Visibility Expert for the CAPFISH-Capture project

Pok Poun, Press and Information Officer at the EU Delegation to Cambodia