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Farmers transport mangoes in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district last month.
Farmers transport mangoes in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district last month. Heng Chivoan

First mango export factory planned

Mong Reththy Group is co-investing $2 million to build a factory in Preah Sihanouk province for the packaging and export of Cambodian mangoes, the first company to formally ship the fruit overseas.

Located in Koe Phos commune, the factory will cover 12 hectares of land and is a joint investment with Singaporean company King Fruit. Operations won’t start until late 2014, at the earliest.

Oknha Mong Reththy, president of the eponymous firm, said yesterday that mango cultivation in Cambodia has ramped up over the past decade, but until now the fruit hasn’t been directly exported to markets outside the country.

To change that, Cambodia needed a processing factory for the washing, storing, packaging and testing of mangoes to guarantee a fruit free of chemicals.

“We seek to export directly to Singapore, Japan and Korea,” he said. “The factory will contribute to increase the price of mangoes for Cambodian farmers.”

Farmers living along the Mekong have been planting more mango trees with the aid of a relatively new seed, the “Koe Romeat”.

The Koe Romeat mango needs a shorter time to bring in revenue, as it takes about three and a half years between planting the seeds and harvesting the fruit.

Nearly all mango farmers use the Romeat variety, as older seeds took up to 10 years on average to harvest. Reththy did not say how many tonnes of mangoes the factory planned on exporting per month or per year once operations start.

But mango farmers could be in for a sweet deal as the tycoon has to purchase the fruit locally. Reththy singled out Kampong Speu province as one area he’s interested in buying from.

Cambodian mangoes are typically exported to Vietnam and Thailand informally by individual traders. Afterwards, they are packaged and then exported to China, according to Chorn Dalis, a mango farmer who owns an 80-hectare property and who is also the director of PRL Co, a processing company producing dry mangoes.

She said Cambodian mango traders are facing difficulties in exporting the fruit to international markets because of their inability to meet sanitary standards and the insufficient quality of the fruit.

“I am happy to have a factory that can export mangoes from Cambodia,” Dalis said.

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