Thailand and Cambodia are stepping up bilateral cooperation on trade, investment, and tourism, through contract farming and business matching.
A group of 96 Thai officials and entrepreneurs from six lower northeastern provinces, namely Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Chaiyaphum, Ubon Ratchathani, and Si Sa Ket, visited Cambodia on 24-26 June 2015.
The group, led by Surin Governor Niran Kalayanamit, signed a Cooperative Agreement on Contract Farming and Business Matching with its counterparts from five provinces in Cambodia, which include Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng, and Siem Reap. The signing ceremony took place on 26 June at Angkor Era Hotel in Siem Reap.
The contract farming cooperation comprises 13 deals for the purchase of farm products, worth 1,676 million baht. The products include tapioca, rice, soybean, and other crops. The business matching consists of 18 deals, covering such products as construction materials, food, and beauty and health, as well as hotel business and agro-industry. Another 10 contracts were signed later after the two sides had concluded their negotiations.
In addition, entrepreneurs from Surin province agreed to co-invest with their Cambodian counterparts in arranging bus services from the Chong Chom-Orsamet border crossing point in Surin to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The bus services are expected to begin before the Annual Surin Elephant Round-Up in November this year.
They will also facilitate the travel of tourists to Siem Reap and will prepare for the arrival of the ASEAN Community in late 2015. Thailand and Cambodia earlier agreed to launch the "Two Kingdoms, One Destination” project in an attempt to boost tourism in both countries.
On 11 June 2013, Thailand and Cambodia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in the Promotion of Contract Farming, under the Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMEC). The signing ceremony took place in Bangkok after the conclusion of the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Border Area Development and Connectivity between Thailand and Cambodia.
Contract farming is an important project under the ACMECS framework. By encouraging Thai entrepreneurs to invest in the agricultural sector in Thailand’s neighboring countries, contract farming helps generate both employment and income, thereby playing an important role in narrowing the development gap in the Mekong subregion. It will also help prepare Thailand and its neighbors for the soon-to-be ASEAN Community.