The first Cambodian aquaculture products to be shipped directly to China departed the Kingdom on September 14.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries considered the shipment as a fruitful result of the successful cooperation between the two nations, remarking that this was only the first step of many.

Kim Chou Co Ltd Import Export and International Transportation was the first Cambodian company to be licensed to export aquaculture products directly to China.

Heng Meng Ty, head of the company’s export division, told Chinese state news agency Xinhua that the first shipment had departed from the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port and would land in Shanghai, China.

“As our first export cargo, we dispatched a total volume of 10 tonnes, made up of frozen eels and freshwater shrimp,” he said, noting that it was expected to arrive in Shanghai on October 15 or 16.

He said the products were bought from fishermen in several provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake, including Kampong Thom, Pursat and Siem Reap.

“We have complied with Chinese quality and hygiene standards. Our staff have been well trained, and Chinese specialists have checked the goods directly,” he explained. “These exports will contribute to economic growth and create more jobs for our farmers and fishermen.”

Meng Ty offered his sincere thanks to China for allowing the Kingdom to export aquaculture products to their markets, noting that the company expects to export approximately 240 tonnes of fisheries products to China per year.

Thirty-year-old Phat Sokra works for the company, where he selects, peels and packs freshwater shrimp into plastic bags before refrigerating them.

“We put freshwater shrimp in boxes for refrigeration and then pack them into containers for export to China,” he told reporters. “These products will be sold in China. I am happy because their purchases create jobs for us and generate income for our fishermen.”

Agricultural ministry spokesperson Im Rachana said this was the first time such exports have taken place, and offered the ministry’s congratulations and thanks to the company for its efforts to meet the export and phytosanitary standards set by China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC).

“For the ministry, it is another successful step, but there are many more tasks that we need to do. The first step after this is ensuring the quality of products remains high enough to guarantee they will continue to be allowed for exports to China,” she said.

The ministry, she noted, will promote the quality and safety of Cambodian fisheries products in order to expand demand among Chinese consumers.

“Once demand increases, exports of fisheries products will increase, so aquaculturists and fish farmers will have more work to do,” she said.

Permission for the exports was granted by the GACC in May. The same export company was licensed to export 11 kinds of product, including eels, snails and freshwater shrimp.