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Fertiliser deal eyes growing market

A new partnership between Thai-based MSK Fertilizer and Cambodian import agency Brightway Group will increase the distribution of certified quality fertilisers to combat the Kingdom’s endemic supply of fake crop stimulants, a Ministry of Agriculture official said.

The two companies signed the agreement at the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday, but operations will not begin for at least three more months as the import agency still needs to register for a licence and receive an import quota from Cambodian regulatory authorities.

The distribution deal will benefit the local market, where demand for fertiliser has risen swiftly, said Phum Ra, acting director of Agricultural Registration at the Agriculture Ministry.

He said Cambodia imported around 570,000 tonnes of fertilisers during the first half of the year, roughly equalling imports for the whole of 2015. Actual import figures could be close to double when unofficial exchanges from along the border are included.

The bulk of fertiliser products arrived from Vietnam, making up 60 per cent of imports, followed by Thailand with a 30 per cent share. An increasingly large portion of these imports is believed to be falsely labelled products.

“It is very good to increase the number of official distributers because we can then have better control over the quality of fertilisers that are being used,” Ra said.

Brightway Group will initially target its distribution of fertilisers to large-scale farms and later seek to expand its reach to smaller markets, according to Hong Mongheng, the company’s president.

The group has allocated an initial budget of $700,000 to purchase and import 300 tonnes of fertilisers. It will then look to enlarge its operations according to the market demand.

He was unable to disclose the price of the imported fertiliser, but expected it would be available at a suitable price.

Manoon Sritaikhum, CEO of MSK Fertilizer, said establishing a registered company to distribute fertilisers to farmers will be good for the local agricultural sector as farmers’ crop yields are regularly impacted by the use of fake fertilisers purchased from unregistered middlemen.

“We aim to help farmers boost their crop yields by providing good quality fertilisers,” he said.

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