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China market entry a boon for Kingdom’s yellow bananas

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Demand for the Kingdom’s yellow bananas has surged since China authorised the export of the ubiquitous fruit last year. Heng Chivoan

China market entry a boon for Kingdom’s yellow bananas

Demand for the Kingdom’s yellow bananas has surged since China authorised the export of the ubiquitous fruit last year.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon on Sunday said advances in agricultural technology, processing, packaging and exporting sophistication have helped boost yellow banana exports, which increased significantly during the first five months of this year.

Sakhon made the statement during a visit to review the progress of Long Sreng International Co Ltd, a local company developing agro-industrial crops.

The company exported 22,762 tonnes of yellow bananas between January and May, he said. Of that, 8,348 tonnes were exported to China and 14,414 tonnes were shipped to Vietnam.

Sakhon said: “The ministry is trying to strengthen cooperation with development partners and the private sector to support investment in all agricultural product value chains from A to Z by increasing productivity, packaging, storing, processing, hygiene and safety in line with export market standards.

“I called on the company to maintain good cooperation with the General Department of Agriculture and all relevant actors in support and promotion of the export of Cambodian crops to international markets in the future.”

Long Sreng International chairman Heng Sreng said his company is investing in agro-industrial crops including yellow bananas, rubber, Pailin longan (Dimocarpus longan), durian, grapefruits and jackfruits in Kampong Cham province’s Stung Trang district.

Currently, the company is cultivating 1,000ha of bananas, 78ha of grapefruit, 240ha of Pailin longan, 145ha of durian and 125ha of jackfruit.

“Each orchard is organised according to the proper technical standards, with irrigation and harvesting systems, packaging facilities, warehouses, seed production platforms, storage pools and water distribution systems,” he said.

Longmate Agriculture Co Ltd director Hun Lak said his company has invested $32 million in growing yellow bananas on more than 1,000ha in Kampot province’s Chhouk district.

He said his company exported 10,000 tonnes of yellow bananas in the first five months of the year, and plans to plant trees on 400 more hectares soon.

“Our exports of fresh bananas to the Chinese market have been going smoothly as usual.

“The Chinese side has not imposed a limit on the number of imports as of yet, and fresh fruit imports from Cambodia go in as usual, without any restrictions,” said Lak.

General Department of Agriculture data show that from the third quarter of last year, three major yellow banana farms existed in Cambodia. They are located in Ratanakkiri, Kratie and Kampot provinces and cover a total area of 4,996ha – exclusively for export.

Ministry data show that Cambodia’s total export volume reached 121,414 tonnes in the first five months of this year, most of which were exported to China and the rest to Vietnam and Japan.

The export of yellow bananas to international markets last year reached 157,812 tonnes.

Yellow bananas are a prime product for export because they are durable and don’t ripen quickly. One hectare, which can be harvested three times over two years, can produce 60-73 tonnes of bananas per year.

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