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PM calls for cheap fertilisers

121226 07
A farmer was scattering the fertilisers all over the rice field in Takeo Province. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday he did not want to curb imports of chemical fertilisers, even though Cambodia had a domestic plant, and called on the plant to produce cheap, good-quality products to compete in the market.

The premier made the appeal during the inauguration of the Vietnamese fertiliser firm Five Star International, which will have an annual  capacity of 350,000 tonnes.

“One important issue that I appeal to the company is that if [you] want to sell well and there are no imports, a good choice is good quality along with cheap prices,” he said.

During his hour-long speech, Hun Sen told the Vietnamese business people who invested about US$65 million to set up the fertiliser factory  he would not implement the “protective policy”, which bans imports and lets inside traders increase the price intentionally, and instead rely on the free market.

“[If you] want to sell well, [it should be] good quality and cheap price,” he said, adding that “I won’t implement the protective policy; I oppose that policy.”

Tran Van Muoi, general director of Five Star Internat-ional Cambodia, said the company’s factory, built on 12 hectares, would produce about 350,000 tonnes a year in its first stage and employ about 500 workers.

Lim Bunheng, the president of Loran Group, which invested in rice miling in Cambodia and has imported about 100,000 tonnes from Thailand, said chemical fertiliser producers in this country faced competition from imports.

“Normally, the establishment of a factory in the country faces serious challenges,” he said.

“If the local product has a low price, we will cut imports, but if price and quality [are] like the production in Vietnam, it’s not a problem.”

According to the company‘s website, the fertiliser project is a joint venture by the Five Star International group in Vietnam and the Investment and Development Company of Cambodia, a subsidiary of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam in Cambodia.

The Prime Minister said the demand for chemical fertilisers would be big in Cambodia in the coming year.

He referred to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry saying that imports of chemical fertiliser had increased sharply over the past two years.

In 2003, only 43,620 tonnes were imported, but the amount had reached 512,900 tonnes in 2011 and 556,400 tonnes this year, he said.

 

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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