The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has expressed support for the expansion of a private dairy farm, but recommended that the company should lease private citizen’s land to graze their cattle, as the ministry does not currently have a land concession to offer.

The recommendation was made when Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries welcomed representatives of Moo Moo Farm to a January 18 discussion on the company’s expansion plans.

A ministry announcement said Tina expressed his support for the expansion, but made it clear that the ministry would not provide land concessions to private companies, in accordance with a 2012 government decision.

“The minister recommends that Moo Moo contract with local to farmers to expand its feed production. The ministry is keen to see them expand, as there are currently only about 1,000 dairy cows nationwide,” it added.

“Moo Moo Farm has the capacity to produce thousands of litres of fresh milk every day, and plans to expand its operations to meet local demand. In order to do so, it requires an additional 10,000ha of land in Mondulkiri province,” it continued.

Van Sam Oeun, general manager of Moo Moo Farm, said on January 19 the company was searching for land in Mondulkiri as it was unable to find land nearer to Phnom Penh.

“Any land which has enough water to grow crops is suitable for raising dairy cows,” he added.

He said the company is searching for a partner to negotiate with people for the use of their land, but has so far been unsuccessful.

Currently, Moo Moo Farm raises dairy cows at only one location, in the newly formed Akrei Khsat town in Kandal province, about 100m from the Akrei Khsat Ferry Dock.

“Currently, we have a total of 113 animals, 41 dairy cows, 35 heifers, 22 pregnant cows, 9 female calves and 6 male calves. In a typical day, we produce between 800 and 1,000 litres of fresh milk,” said Sam Oeun.

He added that support for locally produced dairy products is growing among Cambodians. Local milk production utilises the same technology imported milk, albeit with a shorter expiration date. This is because Moo Moo does not add the same preservatives which foreign brands employ.

“Once customers try our milk, they buy more. Although we do not have a large market share yet, we are growing,” he concluded.