Expo Milan 2015 - Pavilion of Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia is participating to Expo 2015 through the Rice Cluster. With the theme "Rice Crop Grown on the Cambodian Land Rich in Cultural Heritage", the country will not only showcase its tradition of rice cultivation and rich culture and history, it will draw perspectives for the future and address the role Cambodia can play in achieving global food security.

To learn more about the country's participation to the event, we have met with Mr Seun Sotha, Official Representative of Cambodia for BIE's Affairs.

1. Cambodia has chosen a theme linked to history and traditions. What achievements, techniques and agricultural traditions will Cambodia showcase during the Expo?

Cambodia has a long history which dates back to around 2000-1000 BC at the Indochinese Peninsula. Scholars have traced the first cultivation of rice and first bronze making in Southeast Asia to the Khmer people. They had developed relatively stable, organized societies and spoke languages very much related to the Cambodian or Khmer of the present day. By the 1st century AD, the Khmer culture and technical skills far surpassed the primitive stage. The most advanced groups lived along the coast and in the lower Mekong River valley and delta regions, in houses constructed on stilts where they cultivated rice, fished and kept domesticated animals.

This history and tradition has led Cambodia to choose the theme "Rice Crop Grown on the Cambodian Land Rich in Cultural Heritage" for Expo Milano 2015. This theme reflects our desire to be known to the world not only by the tragic events of our recent past, but also by our history, our culture, our food production techniques (especially how we grow rice crops) and our economic development potential. This theme also underpins trade and tourism developments and investment policies for economic growth and mass employment.

2. Will the participation of Cambodia also showcase perspectives for the future?

Yes. Rice is the main source of our food supply system and a strategic food for the world. About half of the world population, especially in Asian countries, depends on rice as their staple diet. The Cambodian economy mainly relies on agriculture and most of the people living in rural areas earn their living thanks to rice farming.

The agenda of national development of Cambodia considers agriculture as a highly prioritized field. The Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia has adopted strategies such as the building of infrastructures, the enhancement of roads and irrigation, energy and electricity supplies, information and communication technologies, land management reforms, institutional building and coordination, which will be showcased in the event.

Agricultural improvement constitutes a key for national economic growth, and rice crops serve as strategic crops to ensure food security, to generate more jobs and help increase farmers' incomes. Cambodia has harboured an ambition of becoming a major rice-exporting country in the region and supplying rice to the world, thus contributing to improving world food security.

3. How will the theme be translated in the exhibition?

Our theme will be showcased though 3 key sections related to: ancient images of the historic sites of Cambodia such as the Angkor Wat and other heritages; historical agricultural techniques and modern developments, and present Cambodia and its cultural traditions.

4. What image of Cambodia do you hope to leave in the minds of the visitors?

Cambodia hopes to build international awareness on the country's ancient cultural heritage and on rice cultivation and to attract more visitors and investors to the Kingdom of Cambodia. By participating in Expo 2015, Cambodia will show the world its agricultural potential, especially in the field of rice production, which is closely linked to the Khmer culture and civilization.

5. Agriculture is an important sector for the Cambodian economy. Do you see Expo as a place to share best practices? What are the advantages of being part of a cluster in this respect?

As a keen participant of Expo Milano 2015, Cambodia is fully aware of the necessary sustainable development of the global food industry. Cambodia being one of the rice producers in Asia, is constantly looking for ways to improve the management of crops, irrigation systems, supply chain and related technologies.

Expo 2015 is an extraordinary universal event, which will display tradition, creativity and innovation in the business of food, and whilst presenting the heritage and the rich culture of the nation during the Expo, Cambodia also hopes to share its experience with other rice producing nations. By being part of the Rice Cluster, Cambodia has the advantage to exchange ideas, learn from the other countries in the cluster and promote its rice products to the world.