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Petronas Chemicals looks to Cambodia

Malaysian integrated chemi­cals producer Petronas Chemicals is looking to expand its regional presence to Cambodia starting next year, the Malay Mail reported on Wednesday.

President and CEO Abd Hapiz bin Abdullah was reported as saying countries like Cambodia are big on agriculture and have growth potential for the chemical industry.

Malaysian wire service Bernama on Tuesday reported Abd Hapiz bin Abdullah as saying that opportunities are in new markets such as Cambodia but did not provide further details on Petronas Chemicals’ potential foray into Cambodia.

In 2010, the Post reported  that Malaysian parent company Petronas, an oil and gas conglomerate, started in Cambodia in 1994 with 19 petrol stations that dwindled to one, before it withdrew from the country in April that year.

According to Sok Sarang, program officer at the Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Development, Cambodia could be a profitable market for foreign chemical companies because of the importance of agriculture.

“But we worry about the consequences for both consumer and farmers’ health but also for the producer side as small producers will get small dependence and more and more poor because of using more chemical substances like chemical fertilisers, insecticides,” he said.

He said Cambodian farmers are increasingly using fertilisers “due to the infertile soil and some difficulties to find natural fertilizers like cow dung.”

Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said it was better if Cambodia focussed more on developing organic farming.  

“We should promote more production and use of organic fertilizers as it is more beneficial to the environment and human health as well as the sustainability of food production systems,” he said.

Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad is the leading integrated chemicals producer in Malaysia and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. It is involved in manufacturing, marketing and selling chemical products including polymers, fertilisers, methanol and other basic chemicals and derivative products.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anne Renzenbrink at anne.renzenbrink@phnompenhpost.com

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