Cambodia Industry Trends

Industrial activity has traditionally centered on the processing of agricultural and forestry products and on the small-scale manufacture of consumer goods. Rice milling has been the main food-processing industry. Industrial expansion came to a virtual halt in 1970 with the outbreak of war. A few sectors (such as textiles and beverages) enjoyed a short wartime boom due to military orders, but losses in territory and transport disruptions had caused a rapid decline in activity by 1973. The Pol Pot government placed all industries under state control in 1975. In the course of the next four years, some 100 industries were abolished or destroyed. When the PRK took over in 1979, industrial plants began to reopen. By late 1985 there were a reported 60 factories in the state sector producing household goods, textiles, soft drinks, pharmaceutical products, and other light consumer goods. Most plants operate below capacity because of poor management and shortages of electricity, raw materials, and spare parts. There is little information on the small Cambodian private sector. The overall value of local and handicrafts industries in 1984 was estimated at about 50% of the output value in state industry.