May 23, 2011

Cambodia keen to supply Brunei high-quality rice

[The Brunei Times]

CAMBODIA has again reiterated its keen interest to become one of the main suppliers of high-quality rice for Brunei and has made formal discussions with the relevant authority here, said the outgoing Cambodian ambassador to Brunei yesterday.

In December last year, His Excellency Nan Sy told The Brunei Times that Cambodia, one of the Southeast Asian countries relying on agriculture sector to boost its economy, was keen interest to export high-quality rice to Brunei.

He told the paper again yesterday on the sidelines of a farewell reception that the two countries must establish bilateral cooperation in the area of agriculture and tourism in the near future.

The Ambassador, who has completed his five-year term in the country since his appointment in 2006, explained that agriculture has been the most important sector in Cambodia and the nation could become a main supplier of the Sultanate's staple food.

Sy said that the agricultural sector contributes 85 per cent to Cambodia's economy, the remaining contributions are received from the tourism sector and mining industry.

"We do know that Brunei import vegetables, fruits and rice from some of the countries in Asean. So that's why since we are an agricultural nation, Cambodia is ready to supply (agricultural products) to Brunei,"

Although other details were not divulged, Sy said that "a discussion for the cooperation had been made".

Cambodia, a country with more than 14 million population, has been enjoying a close affinity with the Sultanate which has been providing scholarships as well as information and technology training assistance to Cambodian students and government officers.

The ambassador said the state visit by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to Cambodia in 2007 had heightened the cooperation between the two nations and had opened the path for bilateral cooperation such as technical assistance in oil and gas industry as well as education.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank His Majesty's government for what they have done for the students of Cambodia. His Majesty granted scholarships to Cambodia's poor students to come to visit UBD and also to study religious studies at the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (Unissa)."

Both states established diplomatic relations on June 9, 1992, which saw bilateral visits by leaders and government officials, and has since enjoyed bilateral cooperation which covers a number of areas including defence, trade and education.

The outgoing Ambassador yesterday hosted a farewell reception from 3.45pm to 9pm at the embassy's building in the capital

Scheduled to leave on May 29, Sy is expected to attend a farewell audience with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam before departing the Sultanate.

Invited to the reception yesterday were cabinet ministers, foreign diplomats, senior government officials and his personal acquaintances.

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