Cambodia exported a total of 2.68 million tonnes of agricultural products in the first seven months of this year, reflecting encouraging signs in the sector while tourism, garments and construction wither away amid Covid-19.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported that the Kingdom exported 49,937 tonnes of mangoes and its dehydrated products, 194,525 tonnes of cashew nuts, 167,754 tonnes of fresh yellow bananas and 3,430 tonnes of pepper.
It exported more than 420,000 tonnes of milled rice, 144,721 tonnes of corn kernels, 32,810 tonnes of palm oil, 4,282 tonnes of tobacco and 1.55 million tonnes miscellaneous products including natural rubber, fresh cassava, tapioca starch, cassava crisps and cassava pulp.
Mao Sothea, a sales manager at Kirirom Food Product Co Ltd, a mango processing plant, told The Post that agricultural products are still in considerable demand despite the pandemic.
She said her company’s mango exports reached 1,400 tonnes in the first seven months of this year, up about 30 per cent from the same period last year. “We expect to export 3,000 tonnes of mango products in 2020.”
Farm Link Ltd general manager Sebastien Lesieur told The Post that his company exported about 10 tonnes of Kampot pepper in the first seven months of this year and expects to export between 17 and 20 tonnes by year’s end.
He said: “The Kampot pepper market is increasing in Europe, with Spain, France and Germany the main importers. In the US, the demand for specific certifications represents a barrier to supply large importers.”
Lesieur expressed his optimism that Kampong pepper products would be granted tariff-free access to the Chinese market under the Cambodia-China bilateral free trade agreement which is scheduled to be signed later this month.
He said: “It will take time, like in Europe, to make this product well known in China. We are confident that Kampot pepper will be widely available in the best restaurants in Shanghai or Hong Kong in the coming years.”
Minister Veng Sakhon has said the value of agricultural product shipments to the international market has steadily increased from nearly $1 billion in 2013 to $1.5 billion last year.
Ngin Chhay, the director-general of the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, in mid-June said the total agricultural land area used for farming in the Kingdom last year was about 4.88 million hectares.
Of the amount, paddy was grown on 3.88 million hectares, cassava was grown on about 650,000ha, cashew nuts on 230,000ha, red corn on 200,000ha, mango on 120,000ha, yellow bananas on more than 40,000ha, Pailin longan on nearly 10,000ha and pepper on more than 2,000ha, he said.