The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ General Directorate of Agriculture has urged farmers and investors to adopt more effective off-season mango cultivation techniques and modern agricultural practices to ramp up exports to the European market, as a practicable alternative to mainland China.
Ngin Chhay, head of the directorate, on January 31 visited Rich Farm Chompu Prek mango plantation in Kampong Speu province, accompanied by the German ambassador and representatives from Rich Farm Asia Ltd.
At the plantation, Chhay noted that many obstacles to Cambodian mango exports to China persist, saying the ministry expects the fruit will be able to be shipped to Germany and other European markets soon.
He said the Kingdom is entering a stage where it is necessary to markedly improve the quality of prospective agricultural exports, with a focus on increasing growers’ incomes.
To be eligible for export, mango growers must improve the quality of their produce according to the required sanitary and phytosanitary standards, be they seasonal or off-season, he said.
The cultivation of off-season mango must also be carried out in accordance with modern techniques and Cambodia Good Agricultural Practices (CamGAP), he stressed.
“Growing off-season mango properly that is exportable requires the use of high technology, especially a proper irrigation system, otherwise it will not achieve good yields,” Chhay said.
Rich Farm Asia CEO Hun Lak said his company has worked with the directorate to spread awareness to representatives of mango farming communities from five provinces on off-season planting techniques, and modern agricultural practices that promote quality and quantity.
He stated that Rich Farm Chompu Prek is considered a “model mango plantation”, which uses modern agricultural technology, such as an effective solar-powered irrigation system that boosts productivity to the market demand, while adhering to standards.
“We want to educate farmers on the techniques of growing mangoes. If we grow mango to high standards, we’ll be able to export mango to countries other than China,” he said, listing Germany and the others in the EU, and the US as prime examples.
Experts with the company note that off-season mango cultivation is more difficult, requiring more capital and the use of more sophisticated techniques than their seasonal counterparts, and even more so during the rainy season.