Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A staff member arranges bottles of milk in the supermarket at Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district on Tuesday. Hin Pisei

Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers.

The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

 

Mao Sokunthea, a marketing executive of Techo Sen Russey Treb Milk, which is based in Preah Vihear province, told The Post on Tuesday that high production costs and the idea that local products are of inferior quality have led to low sales.

Normally, she said, local production is costly because chemicals and preservatives are not used.

“I think that our people don’t trust our local products, not only our fresh milk but other products as well,” she said.

She said that although supermarkets can sell their perishables – especially through discounts when they are nearing their expiration dates – there are no buyers for the local milk.

Despite a production capacity of 600-700 litres of fresh milk per day, the company can sell only around 300-400 litres daily.

Vann Ratha, a sales manager at Moo Moo Farms, which is owned by a US investor, said although the latest sales figures have been high, they still pale in comparison to what the farm can produce.

 

He said locally produced fresh milk is affordable and of good quality, but demand remains low.

“It is difficult for locally-produced fresh milk products to compete with imported ones because Khmer people do not seem to trust our products even though they have been thoroughly inspected by experts. The price is not much different anyway,” Ratha said.

He noted that demand for fresh milk is steadily increasing in Cambodia, though he has no data on the quantity of consumption in the Kingdom or fresh milk imports from neighbouring countries.

Moo Moo Farms is a dairy farm located in Lvea Em district’s Arey Ksat commune in Kandal province. It has some 200 cows. It can collect between 1,300-1,500 litres of fresh milk daily, whereas market orders amount to just 1,000 litres per day, Ratha said.

Moo Moo Farms milk sells for about $1.80 per litre and Techo Sen Russey Treb Milk sells for $2.50 while two-litre jugs of imported milk sell for between $4 and $4.50 at Phnom Penh’s supermarkets.