In the first five months of 2023, fresh Cambodian mango exports to neighbouring countries Vietnam and Thailand registered a total of 88,509 tonnes.
According to Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokeswoman Im Rachana, 74,681 tonnes were exported to Vietnam while 13,828 tonnes reached Thailand.
Moreover, Rachana noted that Cambodia also shipped over 382 tonnes of dehydrated mango to Thailand in the same period, while exports of desiccated fruit to Vietnam remained at a standstill.
“From 2019 to May 2023, Cambodia exported more than 477,791 tonnes of fresh mangoes to Vietnam, while Thailand received 138,337 tonnes,” she said.
Hun Lak, CEO of Tropicam Fruit and Vegetable Co Ltd, pointed out the peculiarities of this year’s mango trade. While the company refrained from exporting fresh mangoes earlier in the year, they did dispatch dried mangoes abroad.
Lak underlined that international demand for mangoes was on the rise, and prices were favourable. However, he also noted a decline in local mango production due to the suspension or cessation of cultivation by many Cambodian mango farmers after incurring heavy losses during the Covid-19 crisis.
“Mango farmers abandoned their crops due to low prices in 2022, amid China’s lockdown, and soaring shipping costs during the global pandemic,” he elucidated.
“Therefore, fresh mangoes could not be exported, prices plummeted, and plantation owners and growers decided to abandon this business,” he said.
Van Rithy, executive director of agriculture and export company Angkor Green, provided further context. He mentioned that the mango season, which ended in May, saw his company exporting nearly 1,000 tonnes to the Thai market via Japanese partners, with a portion also going to Vietnam. He anticipates the new season to kick off in October.
“Since October 2022, mango cultivation has dropped significantly, and the output from persistent growers has also fallen. This resulted in a sharp supply reduction, 50 to 70 per cent lower than the same period last year,” he said.
Despite these challenges, Rithy remained optimistic. “Mango prices have rebounded while market demand remains steady,” he said.
Apart from the Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese markets, he mentioned that Angkor Green is mulling over the possibility of exporting officially to China.
“We recently showcased 150kg of our mangoes at an exhibition in China. The response was overwhelming. Currently, our team is in China discussing the official export of mangoes. We anticipate good news soon,” Rithy shared.
According to the agriculture ministry, Cambodia exported nearly 100,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes to Vietnam and close to 40,000 tonnes to Thailand in 2022. China and South Korea are also significant markets for Cambodian fresh mangoes and mango products.