When Produce Has No Market, the Government Gets the Blame. That’s correct! But…

  • Cambodianess
  • June 13, 2020 10:25 AM

Stories of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) have gradually faded out of these two pals’ discussions. At this point, the two men are looking into social topics to discuss—to stimulate their brains in the morning, coffee alone is not enough. Sothie and Samnang were recently talking about the agricultural products for which growers have a hard time finding markets. 

Samnang: Businessmen in agriculture and farmers have been successful at improving their crop yields. However there seems to be no good market for some crops. Complaining is not enough when there simply is no demand for their produce. Some people say “[t]hings are hard. The government has done nothing! Look at other countries.” Is it right to solely blame the government, Sothie? 

Sothie: Well, their blames are not always unjustified. The government’s role is similar to that of “parents” and, as “parent,” it should look after agribusinessmen and farmers who become their “children.” From what I know, the government has tried to find sustainable markets for farmers in the past. However, this cannot be enough for everyone in the whole country. Some blames can be reasonably put on the government when the market is not sufficient. But the farmers and agribusinessmen themselves have to study the situation and think carefully before investing into the kind of farming they want. 

Samnang: Sothie…! Are you trying to put the blame on the farmers and businessmen in agriculture? 

Sothie: No! I am not trying to put the blame on them. Like what I said earlier, the government has to be partially responsible for finding good markets for farmers’ products. Yet, agribusinessmen and farmers must think carefully about what they decide to get into. 

Samnang: Think carefully about what? Sothie, please elaborate. 

Sothie: This is purely my opinion. For anyone who is involved, please take my words with a grain of salt. 

Samnang: Just explain, please!

Sothie: If the government is not able to find markets for products, then it should take the blame, which is not wrong. However, the farmers and agribusinessmen also share the blame at some point. So, what are they doing wrong? Farming the same produce all at the same time, the lack of proper farming techniques and the lack of market analysis. These are some of their missteps. Furthermore, some farmers and agribusinessmen fail to realize that agriculture is a long-term investment, which demands a tremendous amount of human and financial resources over a long period of time. It does not work the same way as some other businesses in which products are bought and sold almost instantaneously. 

Samnang: So, what you mean is that farmers and the agribusinessmen should put more efforts into analyzing their own investment? 

Sothie: Well, they can partially rely on the government in finding market demand. Plus, before investing, they should pay attention to the demand and discuss with agriculture analysts and specialists. Do not follow the trends without consideration. In some countries, investors observe the market demand very carefully before investing. Back in Cambodia, farmers and agribusinessmen should do the same. Study the market so that they can avoid losses such as this year when the demand for mangoes is so low. Once again, you can blame the government. But, do not forget to think carefully about the market before you invest time and money. Some stay quiet when they make profits. Once the profit stops coming in, they should loudly seek out help! 


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