Cambodian Delegates Learn from South Korean Food Industry Cluster

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South Korean Food Industry

Organized by the ICONE project alongside FASMEC, the Federation Of Associations of SME of Cambodia, a group of 17 representatives from Cambodia traveled to South Korea from November 12th to 16th, 2023.

 The aim was to explore the details of industry cluster development methods and practices specifically related to the agri-food processing sector. The group included members from the provincial administrations of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Siem Reap provinces, the Cambodian Investment Board (CIB) of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the General Department of Labor within the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MOLVT), the General Department of Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression under the Ministry of Commerce, the Business Development Center under the Ministry of Economic and Finance (MoEF), and the FASMEC board of directors.

South Korean Food Industry
Delegates took a joint photo celebrating their 3 days productive trip at the gate of Harim Poultry Processing company, Iksan, Korea, photo Sophorn Ngy, GIZ

The study tour started off with an intensive exchange session at Korea University’s Department of Economics. Prof. Song Soo Lim explained South Korea’s industrial policies, focusing on the impactful Heavy and Chemical Industry (HCI) Drive of 1972-1979. The lecture also shed light on the government’s support for food industry clusters like FoodPolis in Iksan, showing the economic dynamics and strategic foundations of this thriving industrial center.

South Korean Food Industry
A tour to Harim food packing and processing demonstration facility, Iksan, Korea, photo Sophorn Ngy, GIZ

This was followed by an insightful presentation by the Korean Food Industry Association (KFIA), which provided a comprehensive look at the role of industrial associations in promoting the formation of clusters. The KFIA seminar showcased the association’s pivotal role in the food industry’s growth. From offering vital information and education to fostering innovative technologies, the association highlighted breakthroughs in functional foods, smart packaging, and robust food safety systems, a glimpse into the future of food technology and industry standards.

The visit to Harim Poultry Processing Company provided a tangible experience, revealing cutting-edge facilities and automated machinery. Delegates gained insights into automated slaughtering, packaging intricacies, and the company’s strict quality control measures, understanding the operational strategies behind Harim’s success. Beyond machinery, the tour explored the company’s broader business vision, emphasizing product diversity, market expansion, and building a strong brand.

The visit to Korea´s premier food cluster FoodPolis in Iksan explored the various features and benefits of the food industry cluster, such as the availability of land, infrastructure, incentives, and support services, as well as the collaboration and synergy among the resident companies, research institutes, and universities. FoodPolis is a government-initiated project that aims to create a global hub for food research, production, and distribution.

Overall, the study tour visit was an enriching and valuable experience that provided key takeaways and could possibly serve as an inspiration for the development of industry clusters in Cambodia.