Updated on : 11-06-2020
June 10, 2020, Sok Chan / Khmer Times
Cambodia’s Agriculture Minister is urging the private sector to invest in vapour heat treatment (VHT) – a steam treatment facility – packaging and cold warehouse facilities for mango production in order to allow more of the valuable fruit to be certified for export to China.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon was speaking during the signing of the protocol on phytosanitary for mango exports and shipment from Cambodia to China yesterday. The protocol was signed by Wang Wentian, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, and Mr Sakhon.
From now on, Cambodia is able to export mangoes to China, but there is only Hyundai Agro Co that can ship them because this company has already installed the VHT and Hot Water Treatment (HWT) to destroy pests on the fruits. No other companies in Cambodia have yet done this, according to Mr Sakhon.
Mango exports can make $1,000 between $1,500 a tonne depending on quality and preference.
“After the ministry’s sanitary and phyto-sanitary team went to the mango farm to evaluate the standard and procedure of the mango processing, we saw only Hyundai Agro which is able to meet the Chinese criteria and is able to export for the time being,’ he added.
“We have not yet seen other companies in Cambodia build this infrastructure and facilities. Therefore, we called on the 20 registered companies hoping to export mangoes to China to quickly sort out this issue and do it quickly. Then the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) will invite officers from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) to conduct an evaluation on those farms and onsite production before allowing the mangoes to be exported to China,” Sakhon added.
Chang Hoon Lee, managing director of Hyundai Agro, since his company has already installed the VHT, and HWT, the company will export 40 tonnes a day for first 200 days, 10,000 tonnes for the second year, and 20,000 tonnes for the third year.
“This is our target. We already have many partners in China and they are waiting for Cambodia mangoes,” he added. “We have to understand that Chinese is a big market, but it is also very a difficult market,” Hoon Lee added.
He said Cambodian farmers who want to get a good price should improve their quality because the Chinese market is very strict about quality so if our mangoes do not meet their quality standards, they will cut price very harshly,” Hoon Lee said.
“Cambodian farmers should understand it does not mean China will buy a lot of mangoes from Cambodia. They will buy the ones with a quarantine facility according to their standards (HWT),” he added.
“Hyundai already has a hot water treatment so it is easy for us to meet Chinese standards. Before we set up the facility, we studied quarantine systems around the world,” he added.
Another investor, Hun Lak, Longmate Agriculture director, sais in order to export mangoes to China, we have to think of our soil, growing techniques, fertilisers, packaging, and storage. He said that he has 700 hectares of mangoes and will manage about 20 to 30 percent among 700 hectares for exporting to China. The rest he will process as jam and puree locally.
“One hectare of mangoes can yield around 15-20 tonnes of the fruit. We expect to export about 20 to 30 percent of the 700 hectares in 2020-2021,” Lak added.
So far, 20 companies with 21,286 hectares have been registered by the Ministry of Agriculture to export mangoes to China. These companies must also be recognised by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC). They have to install the VHT – hot water treatment – and other facilities to pass the export standards to ensure they safe for export and eating.
VHT costs around $2million per unit. HWT is around $500,000 per unit.
Cambodia so far has 124,319 hectares of mangoes across the country with harvesting land of 91,398 hectares. The yield is an average of 16 tonnes per hectare. Cambodia could produce about 1.4 million tonnes of mangoes per season. Among the 18 varieties of mangoes in Cambodia, only the Keo Romeat mango variety is popular among Cambodian farmers.
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