‘World’s Largest’ Sugarcane Factory to Open in Preah Vihear Next Month

Khmer Times/Sok Chan
Thursday, 07 January 2016

A $300 million sugarcane processing factory will begin producing sugar in Preah Vihear province next month and it is being described as the world’s largest such factory, according to reports in local media.

Industry Minister Cham Prasidh was quoted by local media as saying that the Chinese-owned sugarcane processing factory will be able to produce about 1,000 tons of sugar per day to supply the domestic, regional and global markets. 

Mr. Prasidh is urging Cambodian farmers to plant sugarcane to supply the factory, telling them that they can earn three times what they earn from rice, while the factory’s waste can be used as fertilizer or to generate electricity. 

Preah Vihear governor Oum Mara told Khmer Times yesterday that the province is a good destination for  investment, especially for agro-industry, as its soil is fertile. Mr. Mara said the sugarcane factory will create jobs and attract other investors to the province. 

Mr. Mara said that the government granted over 40,000 hectares of land for sugarcane and the factory. 

When asked whether this project would impact people’s land, Mr. Mara said that every project and development has impacts but provincial and local authorities have mechanisms in place to ensure local communities are aware of the plans and that the land granted to companies for investment will be secure.

“The $300 million sugar processing factory will create thousands of jobs in Preah Vihear province, and other places in the province will receive more investment projects,” Mr. Mara said. “This is what we want for our citizens,” he added. 

Mey Kalyan, senior advisor at the Supreme National Economic Council, told Khmer Times that he welcomed the investment because it creates jobs for Cambodian people and provides a boost to agriculture. “It is good to have this factory built in Preah Vihear as we want our country developed, and we want to see more factories built in various provinces in order to provide job for rural people and prevent them from migrating to neighboring countries [for work],” Mr. Kalyan said. 

Economist Srey Chanthy, said Preah Vihear has great potential for agriculture because of the fertility of its soil and climate, which is ideal for crops like sugarcane plants. Moreover, most residents of the province are farmers, he added. 

“The factory will help diversify the Cambodian economy, add value to Cambodian agriculture, and create employment. If properly done, it will help to lift many farmers there and in neighboring provinces out of poverty,” Mr. Chanthy said.

The government should continue developing infrastructure, providing investment incentives, ensuring availability of labor and human resources, diversify export destinations, lower electricity and gas costs, maintain social and political stability, and continue to ensure the economy develops. 

Chinese executives from the sugarcane processing factory have told local media that the factory will contribute to economic growth by providing jobs to Cambodian people and tax revenue to the government. The factory will need 20,000 tons of cane to refine each day.  Currently, sugarcane is grown on 14,000 hectares of land in the province but  42,000 hectares have been set aside for the crop, provincial officials said.