Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Banana players call for SPS awareness to boost exports

Banana players call for SPS awareness to boost exports

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Kingdom exported 343,812.34 tonnes of fresh bananas in January-September, up by 46.20 per cent year-on-year. FRESH NEWS

Banana players call for SPS awareness to boost exports

Cambodia's fresh banana exports to China have made remarkable progress this year, despite the challenges posed by the protracted Covid-19 crisis. But concerns linger over sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards and the Kingdom’s ability to build on this positive momentum over the coming years.

The Kingdom exported 343,812.34 tonnes of fresh bananas in the first nine months of 2021, up by 46.20 per cent year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported on October 1.

China was by far the top buyer of fresh Cambodian bananas at 301,628.99 tonnes, followed by Vietnam (41,169.35 tonnes), Japan (533.52 tonnes) and Singapore (480.48 tonnes).

Cambodia Rice Federation chairman Hun Lak pointed out that fresh banana exports this year have been buoyed by increased sales to China, on the back of a phytosanitary protocol signed by the ministry in 2018 that paved the way for direct shipments of fresh Cambodian bananas to the East Asian country.

He explained, however, that the deal obliges consignments to maintain a certain level of quality and comply with SPS rules.

The protocol and overall environment have created a host of opportunities for domestic and foreign investors to enter the cultivation market or upscale operations, he said.

However, investment in bananas for export to China is by and large reserved for large-scale companies, requiring a great deal of capital for warehousing, packaging, and other facilities and infrastructure, he cautioned.

He called on the public and private sector to join forces in improving domestic compliance with the standards and key provisions outlined in the protocol, especially SPS rules, to ensure the sustainability of exports to China in the long run.

Reinforcing quality and competitiveness is key, given the sheer number of players in the banana trade overseas that are raring to capture a slice of the Chinese market, he said.

As the protocol enters its fourth year, “we have to strive to maintain quality at competitive prices”, he said, predicting that exports would continue on a steady growth track.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath noted that banana cultivation saw a marked jump last year, leading to a surge in exports to China in 2021 that has so far outpaced the slow growth seen in 2020.

He said that only six banana plantations in Cambodia have been licensed to export the fruit to China, after Chinese authorities determined them to be compliant with the necessary phytosanitary and chemical standards.

He noted that the companies authorised to export fresh bananas to China are either cooperatives or Chinese firms.

He called on the ministry and relevant parties to raise awareness among local farmers of the requirements and procedures involved in cultivation for export, noting that China would rather buy goods from Cambodia where they are generally more inexpensive, over other countries from which it may be “difficult to import”.

“I propose that it is an opportunity for Cambodia, we need to look at the supply and demand. The government as well as the agriculture ministry should expand the scope of agricultural production,” Sereyvath said, indicating that doing so would lift many poor farmers and other rural producers out of poverty, in line with the government’s vision to achieve high-income economy status by 2050.


  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested