A Chinese company is eyeing an investment of “millions of dollars” in Kampong Speu province’s cotton industry, governor Vei Samnang told The Post on Sunday.

He said he met representatives of the firm on Friday at Kampong Speu provincial hall.

“It’s a big firm from China that has already conducted a study on the potential for investment in my province,” he said, noting that it is interested in growing and processing the crop.

“They will invest millions of dollars on 30,000ha in the province,” he said.

Samnang said the project will attract other Chinese investors to the province. “It is a big project for the agriculture industry in Kampong Speu.”

He did not reveal the company’s name or provide concrete figures on the capital that will be invested.

“The provincial authorities will help the firm buy land by connecting them with landowners and facilitating the paperwork,” he said.

Samnang pointed out that available farming land in the province is scarce, with rice plantations, owned by private companies and families, occupying around 110,000ha.

The province also has around 45,000ha dedicated to sugarcane and another 45,000ha to mango.

The General Department of Agriculture’s director-general Ngin Chhay could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

In July last year, a Chinese firm called Jiangsu Lianfa Textile Co Ltd announced plans to invest in growing and processing cotton in Pursat province to supply garment factories.

The company has successfully conducted a preliminary test on the crop and is preparing a second test on 180ha in Bakan district.

Established by the French, the cotton industry in Cambodia thrived between 1965 and 1975, with thousands of hectares of the crop harvested each year.

However, the industry declined during the Khmer Rouge years when nearly all agricultural resources were allocated to rice production.

Although cotton production continued under the Pol Pot regime, a lack of a market and years of insect infestation led Cambodian farmers to all but give up on it by 1985.