THE Yitak Group plans to supply local farmers with around 30,000 tonnes of chemical fertiliser this year, a company official told the Post, signalling even more demand in Cambodia for the product.
Sok Chheng, marketing manager for Yitak, Cambodia’s largest fertiliser distributor, said Sunday it was increasing distribution to meet rising demand.
“We hope that the amount of fertiliser the company distributes to farmers this year will increase by at least 10,000 tonnes,” Sok Chheng said.
The company began in 2002 as the sole distributor of fertiliser for the Vietnamese company Binh Dien, distributing just 2,000 tonnes. In 2009, it sold 20,000 tonnes in 16 provinces, at an average of US$340 per tonne.
Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, said Monday that most arable land in Cambodia is becoming less fertile as a result of overfarming. Overworked soil requires more fertiliser, but farmers should use natural versions, such as compost, he said.
“We think that using chemical fertiliser cannot solve the problem for farmers because it cannot ensure long-term soil quality,” he said.
Though chemical fertiliser can greatly improve yields, some people believe it can be harmful to consumers and farmers alike. An estimated 20 companies are now importing chemical fertiliser for sale in Cambodia, which is pushing to increase yields and boost exports.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a report last week that Cambodia imported more than 170,000 tonnes of chemical fertiliser in 2009.
A $65 million chemical fertiliser plant in Kandal Province’s Kien Svay District is expected to begin operation in 2012, after government approval.