Cambodia exported a total of 1,599,922.37 tonnes of major non-milled-rice agricultural products in the first two months of this year, an increase of 569,493.88 tonnes or 55.27 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon.
The ministry listed 43 such products on the roster of exports, which were sold to 25 countries and territories.
Cassava chips, fresh cassava and paddy weighed in at 802,451.56 tonnes, 154,750 tonnes and 287,850 tonnes, Sakhon said, noting that 559,033 tonnes of these three products did not pass through phytosanitary control posts.
Cashew nuts, red corn kernels, fresh bananas, fresh mangoes, fresh chillies, palm oil and rice bran reached 79,473.51 tonnes, 78,856.14 tonnes, 75,645.57 tonnes, 43,680 tonnes, 32,417.12 tonnes, 7,176.69 tonnes and 6,250 tonnes, the minister said.
The remaining 33 other products clocked in at 31,371.25 tonnes, he added.
In Lai Huot, owner of the Madam Huot cashew nut processing cottage industry in southwestern Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district, said that with a stronger market for cashew nuts than last year, her business has increased its workforce to 80 to ramp up production and ensure that orders are met.
She struck a deal with Top Planning Japan Co Ltd last year to supply the company with finished cashews. According to the plan, Madam Huot must produce 90 tonnes of kernels, which will weigh 15 tonnes when processed.
“We agreed to sell cashew nuts to this Japanese company for $13 per kilogramme. I’m glad it bought cashews from the community and created jobs for the locals,” Lai Huot said.
While 43,680 tonnes of fresh mangoes were exported in the first two months of this year, their price is falling sharply due to a lack of market. The ministry is pushing growers to register their plantations as orchards for export to China.
Mong Reththy, board chairman of agro-industrial conglomerate Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd, which invests in the cultivation and export of mangoes, wrote on his official Facebook page on February 27 that the Covid-19 crisis had led to a sharp drop in the price of fresh mangoes.
He said his 50,000 Keo Romiet mango trees in the Mong Rithy Sen Chey agro-tourism development resort produce about 300 tonnes each year, or just 6kg per tree.
“[We] collected Keo Romiet mangoes for the animals to feed on this time around, whereas we’d previously export them to the EU. It’s all down to the Covid-19 crisis – prices have tumbled since there are no buyers at all. And now my animals can’t even eat it all, there’s just so much of it,” Reththy said.
Late last month, the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture said it had submitted a list of 25 mango farms and three treatment facilities to the Chinese General Administration of Customs for sanitary and phytosanitary inspections.
This came after the farms and treatment facilities passed an initial check from inspectors from the directorate and as the government prepares for the first commercial shipment of fresh Cambodian mangoes of the ubiquitous Keo Romiet variety following three trial shipments to China via Vietnam at the start of December.
This was the second such list after the first on February 12, and brings the total to 30 farms and four treatment facilities, said the directorate, adding that approval would result in the Chinese side granting export permits for fresh mango.
Cambodia exported 8.55 million tonnes of six major cash crops, through formal and informal channels, worth more than $2.32 billion last year as of December 15, according to Sakhon.
In a December 24 post on his official Facebook page, the minister listed the crops as cassava, cashew nuts, mangoes, yellow bananas, peppercorn and Pailin longan.