Cambodia Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Cambodia is traditionally a prominent agricultural country with rice cultivation and fishing in the center. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, still employs around two-thirds of Cambodians. However, the industry’s share of the economy has fallen from significantly over half to a third in a quarter of a century.

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Most cultivated land is on Lake Tonlé Sap and along the rivers. In addition to rice, natural rubber, corn, sugar cane, cassava, potatoes, soybeans, tobacco, cotton and bananas are important crops.

The tropical climate is ideal for rice cultivation. It is mainly conducted in family farming, using outdated and labor-intensive methods. Rice occupies about 85 percent of the cultivated land and employs about 90 percent of the small farms. For Cambodia defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.

The country has a large, landless rural population. Only about a fifth of farmers own land, which makes for uncertainty and a lack of willingness to invest. At the same time, there is a lot of unused land that could be cultivated and yield good returns. However, inadequate legislation regarding the ownership of unused land and corrupt application of the laws have resulted in large areas being bought up or directly stolen by people with good contacts with power holders. This land is often poorly utilized.

The soil is fertile and the tropical monsoon climate has traditionally provided an abundance of water. But the dependence on rain makes agriculture vulnerable. Irrigation systems are generally lacking, and forest deforestation (see Natural Resources and Energy) has led to disrupted water flows in the rivers. The agricultural lands around Tonlé Sap are no longer flooded regularly, which damages rice cultivation. Drought strikes for certain years, while flooding in other years becomes too severe. In addition, unexposed mines make large areas of fertile land unusable.

Cambodians most important source of protein is fish, especially freshwater fish from Tonlé Sap and the Mekong River. Sea fishing and fish farming have the potential to increase production. In addition to fish, thousands of crocodiles are also caught every year. Forest deforestation also strikes hard for fishing because it causes water levels to decline.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

22.0 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

30.9 percent (2016)

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Textile workers again in protest

An estimated 8,000 textile workers in the city of Bavet near the Vietnam border are protesting when a promise of a $ 20-a-month wage increase turns out to be at half. The police disperse the demonstrations with water guns, among other things. Dozens of textile workers, usually young women, are arrested. The textile industry, which is so important to the country’s economy, has long been hit by strikes and protest actions as a result of poor wages and other poor working conditions.


Arrest warrant for Rainsy

A Cambodian court issues an arrest warrant for opposition leader Sam Rainsy while traveling in South Korea. The order applies to a sentence for slander from 2011. Rainsy is ordered to serve the two-year prison sentence, which was then sentenced but which he has not yet served. Rainsy is deprived of his seat in parliament and loses his parliamentary prosecution immunity. Tensions between Rainsy and Hun Sen have increased recently and the human rights organization Human Rights Watch calls the court’s decision “politically motivated”.


A refugee returns home

One of the four refugees relocated from Nauru to Cambodia under an agreement with Australia returns to his home country Myanmar (formerly Burma) (see September 2014 and May 2015).

Wage premium for textile workers

The government raises the minimum wage for textile workers by almost ten percent to $ 140 a month. In recent years, low wages have led to violent demonstrations around the country. In 2014, at least four workers were killed when police fired on protesters demanding higher wages. The low wage situation is an important competitive advantage for the country’s textile industry, which employs around 700,000 people and generates a profit of $ 5 billion annually. However, Cambodia has been criticized for poor working conditions in the textile factories.


Ieng Thirith dies

Ieng Thirith, Minister of Social Affairs under the Red Khmer terror of 1975-1979, dies. She was tried in 2011 at the Red Khmer Tribunal, but the trial was later adjourned when Ieng Thirith was deemed too ill to cope with it.


Imprisonment for rebellion

Eleven members of the CNRP are sentenced to prison for between 7 and 20 years for riots in connection with the protests in Phnom Penh in July 2014. The protests erupted when the government decided to close Freedom Park, where regime-critical demonstrations used to be held. A human rights group calls the lawsuits against the opposites “railroads”.


The first refugees arrive

The first refugees from Australia’s detention camp in Nauru arrive in Cambodia. Three Iranians and one Rohingy (Muslim minority in Bangladesh and Myanmar (formerly Burma)) have all agreed to move from the Pacific Ocean since Australia rejected their asylum application. The transfers are part of an agreement that Cambodia signed with Australia in September 2014.


A new electoral commission is appointed

As part of the political agreement between the CPP and the CNRP, Parliament appoints a new electoral commission consisting of four representatives from each party and an independent member.


Parliament adopts new electoral laws

The now full Parliament unanimously adopts two new electoral laws. One makes it possible to fine and ban NGOs that “insult” political parties and candidates during election campaigns, which are simultaneously cut from 30 days to 21. The second law provides that political parties that choose to boycott the work of parliament may lose their seats there. The CPP and the CNRP motivate the laws by reducing the risk of political deaths similar to the one that followed the 2013 election.

Unclear about new prosecution at the Red Khmer Tribunal

One of the international judges of the Red Khmer Tribunal is prosecuting two former cadres under the Red Khmer regime for crimes against humanity. However, one of the Cambodian judges rejects the prosecution and thus it is unclear if the cases will be admitted. This can take up to a year to determine. Hun Sen has previously said that more trials at the tribunal can lead to war and he opposes more prosecution.

Cambodia Agriculture and Fishing