The Kirirom Keo Romiet Mango Agricultural Community (KKRMAC) plans to set up a mango treatment plant for export to the Chinese market, capitalising on a 500,000-tonne quota granted by Beijing for 2021.

Um Savoeun, president of KKRMAC, which manages more than 2,000ha of mango orchards in Kampong Speu province, told The Post that the cooperative was raising capital to purchase equipment for the proposed installation.

The cooperative has earmarked $500,000 to build the facility, of which 60 per cent would come directly from members’ pockets, he said. “We hope to set up the plant in time for the harvest season, which will start from August.”

He emphasised the need for the plant to meet China’s phytosanitary requirements for export – as outlined in the protocol signed on June 9 – and voiced hope that the cooperative would soon be shipping mangoes to the dynamic East Asian market and fulfilling some of its demand.

On May 7, Cambodia shipped a consignment of about 100 tonnes of fresh Keo Romiet mangoes to China, in the Kingdom’s inaugural direct export of the fruit to the East Asian economic juggernaut.

The official export came after the Chinese Customs Administration on April 26 officially approved a list of 37 mango plantations and five packaging factories able to export fresh mangoes to China.

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the maiden shipment, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said Cambodia was currently only able to export about 100,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes a year to the Chinese market.

“We hope that many companies will set up mango packaging plants – the more facilities there are, the greater the export volume,” he said.

The protocol on “Phytosanitary requirements for the export of fresh Keo Romiet mangoes from Cambodia to the People’s Republic of China” stipulates that mango plantations must be registered with the General Directorate of Agriculture and approved by Chinese customs to export, the minister added.

Additionally, he said, local growers must apply for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification and adhere to its associated principles.

Moreover, mangoes exported to China have to undergo either hot water treatment (HWT) or vapour heat treatment (VHT) to sterilise their crops and exterminate pests, he said.

“Sanitary and phytosanitary measures have been indispensable, playing an important role in bridging agricultural products to foreign markets,” Sakhon said.

The minister underlined that Cambodia Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025’s main goal is to boost exports of processed agricultural products to 12 per cent of the total export volume by 2025.

As of 2020, mangoes were grown on 130,000ha in the Kingdom, of which 91,104ha (70.08 per cent) were harvested, the ministry reported. Mango production reaches an average of more than 1.38 million tonnes per season.