The Kingdom’s first $10 million fresh fruit processing plant will launch in December this year in Kampong Speu province. It will benefit farmers, especially those who grow mangoes, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Owned by South Korea’s Hyundai Group, the plant lies on a 3ha plot in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district.
It was previously set to open in September, but was delayed, said Hyundai managing director Chang-hoon Lee.
“The facility will be finished by December. It was delayed due to heavy rain. We are also waiting for vapour heat treatment (VHT) machines,” he said.
He said the company will register its first export this month in cooperation with the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture.
“Japanese technicians will come to Cambodia to set up the VHT machines next week and [we] will receive training from them for a month.”
He said the company will invite South Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency for inspection and approval to export to that country.
“The company will process for a [Certificate of Origin] from Cambodia as well as certify through sanitary and phytosanitary standards [to export].”
The plant treats and removes pesticides on fruit and packaging.
Hyundai Corporation inked a deal with local mango producer Mao Legacy Co Ltd in November 2016, which has about 2,400ha of mango farms in Kampong Speu province.
The Korean company hopes to process 50,000 tonnes of fruits annually, including coconut, durian and mangosteen.
The Hyundai Group has 44 branches worldwide and a strong network for the export of Cambodian food products.
“We already received an order of more than 6,000 tonnes of mangoes, but we are not in a hurry as we have to compete with fruits from Thailand and the Philippines,” Lee said.
The ministry said Cambodia exported 77,421 tonnes of mango last year, increasing almost three-fold from 22,114 tonnes in 2016. Reports show mangoes were cultivated on 151,602ha last year.
The plant will ensure the farmers’ market and add value to the sector, said ministry spokesman Srey Vuthy.
“The coming of the [plant] is what we hoped for. We need to export to other countries such as China, Korea and Japan."
“When the [plant] is ready, there are a lot of potential destinations for our fruit. The farmers will no longer be concerned about market and price,” he said.
Kampong Speu Mangoes Association president In Chayvan hopes the Cambodian fruit will see official export rather than smuggling to Vietnam or Thailand.
“It will bring the reputation of Cambodian mangoes to the international market. The price of mangoes will not fluctuate much anymore. Farmers will be able to add more value to their mangoes when the [plant] is ready,” he said.