Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that the country's banking sector has enjoyed strong growth in recent years and urged the banks to increase their lending to agriculture. According to the report of the National Bank of Cambodia, lending at the kingdom's 34 commercial banks rose by 26 percent to 7.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2013 from 5.88 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. On the deposit side, the banks received a total deposit of 7.74 billion U.S. dollars as of last year, up 14 percent from 6.8 billion U.S. dollars in a year earlier. "The figures show the progress in Cambodian banking sector,"Hun Sen said during the 17th Government-Private Sector Forum, which was attended by some 400 government officials, business representatives, diplomatic corps and development partners. "Our banks are in good health." Meanwhile, the premier appealed to banks to increase lending to agriculture, particularly rice sector in order to assist the government to achieve its self-imposed goal of exporting 1 million tons of milled rice by 2015. Last year, the banks lent 712 million U.S. dollars to agriculture, up 29 percent from 552 million U.S. dollars in a year earlier, the National Bank of Cambodia said. The Southeast Asian nation has a population of about 14.8 million with its banking sector serving about 1.6 million borrowers and 1.9 million depositors.