PHNOM PENH: Six provinces will soon have merchandised quality control offices, also known as sanitation and phyto-sanitation (SPS) offices, to monitor and prevent poor-quality imported products, meat and vegetables from flowing across the border into Cambodia. The establishment of the offices comes after an inflow of poor-quality products from neighbouring countries containing bacteria or diseases that impacted people’s health, animals and crops, said Hean Vanhan, director-general of the agriculture department at the Ministry of Agriculture. “So far, five SPS offices, or merchandised quality control offices, in the six provinces are about 90% complete and we hope to see them operational this year,” the Khmer Times on Monday quoted him as saying. “The provinces of Stung Treng, Svay Rieng, Preah Sihanouk and Tbong Khmum each have one office, but there is only one office for Battambang and Banteay Meachey provinces.”
The offices will primarily focus on checking the sanitation and SPS of some imported products, Vanhan said, adding that the offices’ duties would not overlap with Camcontrol, the government’s import-export inspection body that looks for fake, expired or illegally imported goods. “In the past, we did not have SPS offices or officers at the border to thoroughly check for poor-quality imports from neighbouring countries. With these offices, we can reduce poor-quality imported products and some diseases to protect the health of our people, animals and crops,” Vanhan said.
Vanhan said that reducing the flow of imported products from neighbouring countries would help boost local production to supply the local market. However, he accepted that there would inevitably be some illegally imported products of poor quality coming into the country through small border gates that authorities were unable to manage. Vanhan added that Cambodia must have rules in place to ensure that SPS standards in the country comply with Asean standards to prevent contaminated fruits and vegetables being imported.