At the start of the last century, Cambodia became well known among planters for the red colour of its soil. Later, the development of rubber plantations quickly brought it the name ‘the rubber country’, and rubber itself was known as ‘white gold’.

In 1993, after decades of isolation and devastation caused by civil war, the nation was reunited under the monarchy. Cambodia then experienced unprecedented economic development and recorded the fastest economic growth in Southeast Asia. This was mainly due to the textile industry, tourism and international aid. At the same time, the country specialised in fishing, forestry and agriculture, where nearly 58 % of the workforce are still employed today.

  • Rubber

Despite the conflicts, rubber cultivation has remained highly significant over the decades. In 2013, Cambodia produced no less than 75 000 tons of rubber and the forecast for 2015 was 100 000 tons.

In recent years, the dynamism of the rubber industry has abated somewhat due to falling global prices. Despite this, exports have shown steady growth for two reasons:
- vast areas have been planted in recent years;
- the trees have matured over the years.

An important driver of development in remote areas, rubber cultivation also enables pure green energy to be produced: natural rubber can replace synthetic rubber (a petroleum distillation product) and represents a significant carbon sink.

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