AGRICULTURAL investment firm Mong Reththy Group and an unnamed Thai company have agreed to invest US$32 million in a joint venture to build Cambodia’s first cooking-oil plant.
Mong Reththy, senator and head of Mong Reththy Group, said yesterday that an agreement had been made, and that the plant would be built in Preah Sihanouk province next year, capable of producing 100 tonnes of cooking oil per day by 2012.
“I think that now is the time for us to build a plant because more and more cooking oil is being imported and used in the country at the moment,” he said.
According to Mong Reththy Group, which operates Cambodia’s biggest palm-oil plantation, the Kingdom currently imports more than 30,000 tonnes of cooking oil worth about $36.5 million per year from Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
Mong Reththy said that his company did not want to continue to export raw palm oil while local demand was increasing.
“We will try our best to build the plant because we want our people to have access to products they produce by themselves, instead of using imported ones,” he said.
A feasibility study for the plant was 60 percent complete and should be finished by the end of this year or early next, Mong Reththy said, and according to the results so far, the company would take about 18 months to construct the plant.
The Group, which has a 10,000-hectare palm oil plantation in Prey Nub district of Preah Sihanouk province, has been trying to build an oil plant since it started the palm oil plantation in 1996. As yet, the plants had yielded too little for the operation of a factory, Mong Reththy said.
The amount of raw palm oil the company currently produces – 60 tonnes per day – would still be insufficient for the cooking oil plant to be economically feasible. Therefore, the company would begin expanding its plantations to 30,000 hectares, he said.
Currently, the company’s entire produce is sold to firms from India and Switzerland for around $700 per tonne, he said.