The Mechanization of Cambodian Agriculture

Cambodia is still an agricultural based society. Almost 70% of the total population is involved in agriculture and agricultural produces contribute about 28% of the GDP. In comparison to number of population involving in this sector, the productivity is still low. Main crop is rice with the yield of slightly over 3 tons per ha, much lover than in Thailand, Vietnam and China; which is about 5 tons per ha and more. Other cash crops are such as rubbers, cassava, maize, beans, cashew nut, pepper etc.

Below is the figures relating to number of tractors, mechanical tailors, pumping and harvesting machines;  provided by Agricultural Minister Chan Sarun during a recent meeting with his officials. We could observe that the number of tractors used in 2012 is increased by more than 100% in comparison to 2011. Sharp increase is the use of mechanical tillers (more than ten times), harvesting machines and pumping machines (more than three times). It is partly due to high labor costs and a more affordable prices of those machines.

Year Tractors (unit) Mechanical tiller (unit) Harvesting machines (unit) Pumping machines(small and medium size in unit)
1969 1,233 751 0 n/a
1979 146 [1] n/a n/a n/a
1993 2,450[2] n/a 0 n/a
2011 3,072 8,789 0 64,406
2012 7,491 95,722 2,935 215,979

The Minister said that in 2012, plowing done by tractors and mechanical tailor reached 2,036,331 ha or 64% of the total cultivated area of 3,157,417 ha. During the dry season, mechanical plowing reached 91%, it means 334,598 ha out of 367,576 ha. (Source: Chan Sarun, KT, 02.03.13)


[1] 66 imported by the State and 80 remaining from previous regimes

[2] State imported 1,929 units, other departments imported 351 units, private sector: 90 units and left over from old regime: 80 units)

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