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Foreign joint venture eyes banana farming in Koh Kong province

A Japanese firm and an Australian company planned to invest more than US$35 million in a banana plantation, a factory and a port in Koh Kong province, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said yesterday.

Australia-based Indochina Gateway Capital and Japan’s Sumifru Corporation would jointly invest in banana cultivation in the province’s Thma Baing district, MAFF plann-ing office director Por Ratana said.

The proposed $35 million investment would be for banana harvesting only.

No figure was available for how much the companies planned to invest in a proposed banana-drying factory and port.  

Por Ratana said the comp-anies would export the fruit to African countries.

The companies had yet to sign a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia, Por Ratana noted.

The quality of the soil in the province could also alter the companies’ investment decision, as well as the crop that is planted in the area, he said.

“The companies hired a Malaysian company to study the quality of the land for banana cultivation. But if land is not suitable for bananas, they will grow rubber trees or other crops,” Por Ratana said, adding that the research process could take a year.

The companies would import banana seeds from Africa and would export small banana trees, fresh bananas and processed bananas, Por Ratana said.  

Koh Kong provincial governor Sun Dara said the two companies had been studying the land and other impacts on a 5,000-hectare economic land concession in the district, but so far they had yet to receive formal permiss-ion to invest.

The proposed investment would not have negative effects on the population living at the proposed investment site, Sun Dara claimed.

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