AGRICULTURAL investments worth more than US$230 million and hailing from four Asian nations were given the green light by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) Tuesday, its deputy secretary general, Duy Thoy, said.
The six approved schemes – involving rubber, palm oil and sugar production and processing – are to be located in Kampong Speu, Kratie, and Mondulkiri provinces.
The proposals now require final approval from Prime Minister Hun Sen before the $234 million worth of investment can move forward, he added.
“With these projects we hope Cambodia’s agro-industry will create jobs and generate additional income for the national economy,” he said.
The largest investment comes from China, which will see $142 million pumped into two Kampong Speu sugar cane projects.
Two separate Vietnamese schemes, both for rubber plantations and processing factories in Kratie province, will total $36 million.
A Malaysian firm is planning a $26 million Kampong Speu palm oil plantation, and a $30 million joint venture with Singapore to grow rubber in Mondulkiri.
Names of the companies involved were not released.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries welcomed the CDC’s approval of the investment projects Wednesday.
Cambodian land has lots of potential for growing crops such as rubber and sugar but does not have the capital to invest by itself, Secretary of State Chan Tong Eves said.
“It is good for Cambodia if all these approval-seeking projects can be carried out and developed successfully,” the official said.
A total of 126 companies were granted land concessions for growing crops from 1993 to 2009, according to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries obtained in April.
Concessions for the period totalled 1,335,724 hectares in 16 Cambodian provinces, but 41 of these companies have seen their 379,034 hectares of concessions nullified for failure to comply with contracts, it said.
Some 85 companies retain valid concessions for a total of 956,690 hectares, mostly for rubber, sugarcane, and palm oil production.