Stung Treng provincial authorities will work with integrated food-distribution company Hun Ty Co Ltd to exploit the province’s potential for crop cultivation and potentially set up a processing plant for export down the line, provincial administration spokesman Men Kung told The Post on November 26.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was struck to this effect on November 23, which he said would provide a strong market for a portion of the province’s agricultural product offerings.
“When a company makes an earnest commitment to buy agricultural products, it gives us high hopes that production figures and the quality of our wares will be uplifted to a whole new level, ratcheting up locals’ incomes to boot,” Kung said.
He voiced his confidence that Stung Treng’s farmers stand to profit wholesomely from the MoU, pointing out that Hun Ty is a large Chinese firm that has many technicians based abroad and access to numerous overseas markets.
He said a working group comprised of company representatives and relevant provincial authorities would review, assess and prepare a five-year joint plan that focuses on training farmers on cultivation methods, providing them with seed varieties and purchasing their products.
While the company’s initial investment plan may only cover the acquisition of cashew nuts, cassava and the ubiquitous Keo Romiet variety of mango, he said the ample supply of high-quality agricultural products found in the province could convince it to set up a processing plant there.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, provincial governor Mom Saroeun said the agreement is in line with the government’s policy in the framework of provincial development and the province’s five-year local development programme.
Hun Ty director Antony Wang said the deal reflects close public-private cooperation on agriculture and job creation for local farmers that is sure to accelerate the Kingdom’s economic growth.
He hinted that the company was looking to set up agricultural processing plants in the province. “The company would invest in quality, safe and hygienic agricultural processing to export to markets around the world,” Wang said.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon lauded the MoU, noting that Hun Ty has extensive operations in the Kingdom related to processing, packaging and export, and boasts large warehouses and cold-storage units.
“This MoU will cause Cambodian agricultural product exports to foreign markets to shoot up sharply in due course,” he said.
But he warned that with the added exports, the Kingdom will face many challenges, including high electricity and transport costs, as well as a weak logistics infrastructure.
As of September 11, Cambodian agricultural product exports this year weighed in at 3,039,030 tonnes, or just shy of the 3,065,555 tonnes logged in the first nine months of last year, ministry figures show.
Milled-rice exports were 463,805 tonnes, fresh cassava, dried cassava chips and tapioca starch reached more than 1.7 tonnes, cashew nuts (202,207 tonnes), fresh yellow bananas (213,486 tonnes), fresh mangoes and its dehydrated products (56,590 tonnes), pepper (3,959 tonnes), palm oil (41,970 tonnes), tobacco (5,376 tonnes) and soybeans (3,876 tonnes).
The Kingdom shipped 193,660 tonnes of corn, vegetables (84 tonnes), sweet potatoes (2,865 tonnes), fresh and dried chilli peppers (52,621 tonnes), pomelos (15,150 tonnes) and other products (55,420 tonnes).
Cambodia’s agricultural products are exported to Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, France, Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the US, Britain, Belarus, New Zealand, Sweden and Hungary, the ministry said.