Food, beverage imports rise

Cambodia spent about $200 million on food and beverage imports to supply the domestic market last year – an increase of more than 10 per cent from the previous year, official data from the Ministry of Commerce show. Government officials and representatives of the private sector said they were not concerned by the hike, saying the imports are needed to supply the current surge in domestic demand, as local production lacks the capacity. The data show that the country imported over 290,000 tonnes of food and 2.82 million liters of beverages worth a combined $183.65 million in 2012 compared with 254,000 tons and about 2.27 million liters worth $161.98 million in 2011. … [Te Taing Por] acknowledged improvements in domestic production but said, however, that domestic supply still cannot meet the market demand. “The rise is due to a sharp growth in domestic demand. Despite our local producers producing more and more, they still can not meet the rise in demand,” he said. “I don’t think the rise of imports of food and beverage is affecting the economy or we cannot produce domestically. Our local production is improving in both quantity and quality.” … The largest local bank, Acleda, reported that it provided $54 million to nearly 80,000 small and medium-sized enterprises last year – an increase of 4.4 per cent.