HLH Agriculure Cambodia Co Ltd, a Singaporean-owned company that this year invested US$15 million in a corn-processing factory in Kampong Speu province, told the Post Thursday it would begin exporting by the end of the year.
Rort Veasna, purchasing officer at HLH, said his company would export about 300 tonnes of processed red corn to Singapore in November.
"It is our first phase of exports to foreign markets," he said, adding that the corn would be sold at $200 a tonne.
HLH has recently produced 800 tonnes of corn on its 450-hectare farm in Omlaing commune in Thpong district, Kampong Speu, he said, adding that it purchased an additional 1,000 tonnes from local companies and farmers.
An additional 10,000 hectares are being planted in nearby Oral district, he added.
Rort Veasna said that demand from the region had reached 50,000 tonnes for the last quarter of this year, but that HLH had so far not been able to keep up with demand.
"We have not had sufficient capacity for this huge amount because my business plan has only just been completed and some of our crop was sold on the domestic market," he said, adding that HLH had completed sales to CP Group and SCF Company to produce pet food.
Overall, the company has invested $30 million, he said, and plans to spend more - current capacity is 300 tonnes a day with two Chinese-made corn-drying machines and five planting machines.
"Although we cannot currently meet market demand, we will keep trying to purchase domestically and from overseas to enlarge and improve our plantation for exporting not only to Asia, but also European markets," said Rort Veasna.
Cambodia last year exported more than half a million tonnes of red corn within the region, said Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce.
Last year Cambodia planted 141,264 hectares of corn, according to official figures, and the Kingdom produced 561,584 tonnes in 2008.
Government promotes exports
"We welcome more foreign investors in the sector to export abroad," adding that Cambodian operations had consistently produced high-quality corn for overseas markets.
The ministry would be ready to assist farmers in exporting the crop, said Mao Thora.
"If a company wants to raise sufficient quantities for export, they should cooperate [with the ministry]," he said.