Indonesia looks for cooperation with Battambang 

Indonesia Ambassador Santo Darmosumarto posed with Battambang Governor Sok Lou. Photo: Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh

PHNOM PENH – Indonesia is eyeing potential investment from the rice bowl Battambang province, pledging close economic cooperation as the two countries celebrate the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“In spite of the fact that there are hundreds of rice mills in Battambang, there remains immense potential for investment and joint ventures in rice production,” said Indonesian Ambassador Santo Darmosumarto on a visit to the province on Jan. 23. 

The potential for agriculture-related businesses, including fertilizers and farm machinery, is also significant, he said. 

The first shipment of Cambodia’s rice reached Indonesia in November 2023, marking a significant increase in bilateral trade. This has made Indonesia the sixth trading partner, breaking the $1 billion mark in trading volume in 2023.

Cambodia's exports to Indonesia climbed to $70.56 million in 2023, a 112 percent jump from the previous year.

Ambassador Darmosumarto visited the rice milling companies Baitang, Phuo Poy, and City Rice in Battambang to understand rice production processes and discuss cooperation opportunities.

“I am here to learn more about Battambang's important role as the rice bowl of Cambodia. I am confident that there is ample room for cooperation with Indonesia,” he said.

Battambang region is renowned for its phka rumdoul rice, a variety of fragrant jasmine rice, which has been named the world's best rice five times, as well as its lush soils and attractive landscapes. Known as "the rice bowl of Cambodia," the province has 75 percent of forested and mountainous area and its agricultural economy has the most potential.

Battambang also joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) on Oct. 31, 2023, being acknowledged for its unique cuisine as part of Cambodia’s rich culture.

Seeing the potential, Ambassador Darmosumarto spoke of the importance of economic cooperation between Indonesia and Cambodia, citing the possible collaboration between Battambang and Indonesian provinces.

Fifty percent of Cambodia's agricultural production comes from rice, a key commodity that is mostly exported to Europe, making up 70 percent of the nation's agricultural output.

Besides economic potential, the city center boasts French colonial architecture, featuring a precious art piece by Indonesian mural artist Hardthirteen, symbolizing the city's synergy between historical tradition and modernity.

“I enjoyed walking around the city center immensely, enjoying the preserved French colonial architecture,” he said. 

As 2024 marked 65 years of Cambodia-Indonesia friendship, the embassy plans to host a larger "Sousdey Indonesia" trade and tourism event in September and collaborate with other Indonesian regional embassies to organize an infrastructure forum on the sidelines of Trade Expo Indonesia  in October.

The embassy also plans to organize small-scale business promotional activities throughout the year.

“Our goal is to ensure that the 65th anniversary of Indonesia-Cambodia relations will be productive, momentous and memorable,” Ambassador Darmosumarto said.

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