A team from China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) on March 10 conducted a virtual inspection of three Cambodian mango farms and four treatment facilities to ensure that they are fit for export, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon.
They evaluation comes after the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture submitted two lists with 30 mango farms and four treatment facilities to the GACC for sanitary and phytosanitary inspections, following an initial check from inspectors from the directorate.
The government is preparing for the first commercial shipment of fresh Cambodian mangoes of the ubiquitous Keo Romiet variety following three trial shipments to China via Vietnam at the start of December.
With expansive swathes of fertile land for agriculture and ever-burgeoning harvests, Kingdom stands to make potentially huge sums of money with each new Cambodian commodity or producer that the Chinese government determines to be compliant with its sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards.
Cambodia exported 43,680 tonnes of mangoes in the first two months of this year, according to Sakhon. And this is out of a total 1,599,922.37 tonnes of 43 major non-milled-rice agricultural products shipped out during the period.
China is likely to see a higher inflow of Cambodian agricultural products in the years to come.
Based at Nanning Customs of the eponymous city in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the team is slated to conclude their review on March 10, the agriculture minister said, keeping his fingers crossed for a positive outcome.
“On behalf of the management of the agriculture ministry and joining in their enthusiasm, I wish for the long-term success through the pursuit of formal fresh mango exports from Cambodia to China,” he said.
According to Sakhon, the three mango farms are managed by Angkor Harvest Co Ltd, UCDL Development Co Ltd and Bamin Agriculture Hi-Tech Development Co Ltd.
To sterilise their crops and exterminate pests, especially the fly larvae found in mangoes, Long Wo Agriculture (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Boeung Ket Fresh Fruits Co Ltd and Al Jazeelan Food Pte Ltd (of Hun Ty Co Ltd) employ hot-water treatment (HWT) facilities, he said.
Hyundai Agro (Cambodia) Co Ltd, on the other hand, opts for a vapour-heat treatment (VHT) system, he added.
The ministry in June signed the protocol on “Phytosanitary requirements for the export of fresh Keo Romiet mangoes from Cambodia to the People’s Republic of China”.
This allowed the Kingdom to the export 500,000 tonnes of fresh Keo Romiet mangoes per year to China.
An employee at one of the farms, who asked not to be named, told The Post that “we’ve prepared everything concurrent with the agriculture ministry’s guidelines and we hope our endeavours will attain fruition”.
He pointed out that the ministry and the customs officials had used the videoconferencing app Zoom for the inspection.
Hun Lak, CEO of Rich Farm Asia Ltd, owner of another farm involved in the inspection, told The Post that his company is looking forward to a positive decision that would allow it to export fresh mangoes directly to China.
“My exports of fresh mangoes to China have not yet kicked off and are awaiting a final decision from the Chinese side. We currently ship small quantities of fresh mangoes to the Chinese market through Vietnam,” he said.