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China plans to import cassava

KHAOU Chuly Development Company plans to invest US$7 million to grow cassava on 5,000 hectares of land in Mondulkiri province this year, chairman Khaou Phallaboth said yesterday.

The project – which is also set to include a processing factory – aims to produce 150,000 tonnes of cassava per year, largely for export to the People’s Republic of China.

“We hope the project will be successful, which can create a new market for farmers to sell their products and to earn more income for the national economy,” he said.

Cassava is often used in ethanol production. Yields on Khaou Chuly Development Company were targeted at 30 tonnes of cassava per hectare per year.

Construction of the production facility was slated to begin near to the end of this year.

While production of the crop now generally occurs in the Kingdom’s western provinces, Khaou Phallaboth also said there was plenty of land available in the northern reaches of Cambodia.

The land, he said, had strong potential for high yields.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery undersecretary of state Kit Seng said that cassava production often produced high yields, but added planting for the long term could damage the quality of the soil.

Still, he said the Agriculture Ministry supported cassava production – especially as it was a priority crop, with companies receiving encouragement from the government to grow.

In December, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced an agreement with China aimed at increasing cassava exports to Asia’s largest economy.

Ministry of Agriculture figures show that cassava was grown on 200,821 hectares of land for the 2010 to 2011 harvest season, an increase of 40,495 hectares from the previous season.

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