Agriculture Ministry to ink $50 million mango pact

A Cambodian vendor wraps up some produce for a customer at a tourist site on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2013.
A Cambodian vendor wraps up some produce for a customer at a tourist site on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2013. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP

The Agriculture Ministry is set to sign a mango export investment deal with a Chinese firm worth up to $50 million, the second such deal in the country, Agriculture Minister Veng Sokhon said yesterday.

Sokhon said the agreement with Weighai Dragon Union Agriculture Co Ltd was expected to be signed next month after the company presented a $40 million to $50 million plan to package fruit from Kampong Speu province to export to China and Japan.

 

“I’m confident that our mangoes will find a strong market,” Sokhon said, adding that Weighai Dragon also proposed setting up an agricultural bank to help farmers expand their cultivation.

“First they’ll focus on the mango exports, and then they will look at other potential fruits in Cambodia,” he added.

A local subsidiary of Hyundai Corporation, the South Korean conglomerate best known for producing cars and SUVs, was the first company to invest in mango exports, Sokhon added.

Hyundai CNF Inc is targeting markets in South Korea and Japan, and will begin operations at the beginning of next year, Sokhon said. The company has invested $4 million in developing a processing and distribution centre in Kampong Speu province to wash, process and package mangoes grown on Hyundai’s 400-hectare plantation as well as on local partner Mao Legacy’s 2,000 hectares of mango farms.

Mong Reththa, vice chairman of the board of directors at Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd, said mangoes currently had the most potential for the international market, but farming techniques needed to be improved.

“In order to reach the international market, we need to have techniques and standards for maintaining a mango farm, then focusing on packaging and freezing,” he said.

The foreign investment deals would help spur family farms to adopt more technical methods and “add value for the farmer”, Reththa said. Kingdom Fruits International Co Ltd, a sister company of Mong Reththy Group, was the first to export mangoes abroad.