Mong Reththy's palm oil products were intended for export but the Cambodian tycoon is now focusing on the domestic market
THE Mong Reththy Group expects to begin producing a local brand of palm-based cooking oil next year, company president and CEO Mong Reththy told the Post Wednesday.
Mong Reththy, also a Cambodian People's Party senator, was granted a concession on approximately 11,000 hectares of government land in 1997, of which some 7,000 hectares in Sihanoukville were used to establish palm plantations.
Since 2002 the company has exported all its palm oil products, but in 2009 it will focus on the domestic market, said Mong Reththy. "We will produce cooking oil from palm oil to sell locally because our production yields are enough to supply a new refining plant," he said.
By next year, the company's processing plant, currently working at 50 percent capacity, will be capable of processing 30 tonnes of palm oil every hour - a sixfold increase from 2002. By 2011, is expected to reach 60 tonnes per hour. The plant will also employ an additional 1,000 workers, he said, adding that crops were good this year.
Company reports say the Mong Reththy Group has exported nearly 20,000 tonnes of palm oil this year to Malaysia, India, Korea and Germany, earning US$12 million.
The company estimates it will be able to produce 300 tonnes of palm oil daily, beginning next year.
Mao Thora, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce said Cambodia is a good market for local brands, but he could provide no statistics on cooking oil imports. He said local oil would face stiff competition from cheap imports.
"In order to encourage local production and sales, the government may need to increase taxes on imported cooking oil," Mao Thora told the Post Wednesday.
Yoeung Royal, a sub-manager with Chip Mong Import & Export, said his company imports about 5,000 tonnes of cooking oil per year. He said he would consider becoming a distributor of a new domestic brand.