Cambodia exported more than 235,171 tonnes of fresh yellow bananas to international markets in the first nine months of this year, up more than 225.69 per cent year-on-year, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said.
Ngin Chhay, the director-general of the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, told The Post that shipments of the bananas have seen a substantial increase since China acknowledged that they hold up to its phytosanitary standards.
China authorised the export of the ubiquitous fruit last year.
“As I see it, the volume of yellow banana exports will continue to increase in the future as orders from China pile up and more companies expand their cultivation areas. Besides, people are saying our fresh bananas are top-notch quality, fragrant and delicious,” he said.
As of the turn of the month, banana investment companies currently cultivate 30,000ha, up from 10,000ha during the same time last year, according to Chhay.
Hun Lak, the director of yellow banana grower and exporter Longmate Agriculture Co Ltd, told The Post on Thursday that exports ballooned in the first nine months of this year buoyed by elevated Chinese demand.
“Our yellow banana exports enjoyed such a surge due to the fact that they live up to Chinese buyers’ hygiene standards,” he said.
He noted the Kingdom’s potential to expand production of yellow bananas to meet the needs of the Chinese and other market destinations.
“My company’s exports have not changed, though our output has increased slightly. We hope that exports will continue to grow this year and beyond,” Lak said.
Longmate Agriculture has invested $32 million in yellow banana cultivation on more than 1,000ha in Kampot’s northwestern Chhouk district. The company is currently implementing the first phase of the project on 400ha.
Yellow bananas are a prime product for export because they are durable and don’t ripen quickly. One hectare, which can be harvested three times over two years, can produce 60-73 tonnes of bananas per year.
To date, China has approved 15 companies to export yellow bananas, with the five latest firms receiving the green light in July.
The ministry reported that the Kingdom exported 157,812 tonnes of yellow bananas last year, or an average of more than 432 tonnes per day. Most was exported to China and the rest to Vietnam and Japan.