CAMBODIA’S second sugar mill plans to sell its product in the domestic market early next year, a company official said.
A representative from Phnom Penh Sugar Company, which is owned by Cambodian People’s Party senator Ly Yong Phat, said the Kampong Speu sugar mill is 80 per cent complete and the first sales are expected in March.
“The main market will be inside Cambodia,” representative Chheang Kimsruon said, adding that Phnom Penh Sugar will sell at cheaper prices than those of imported sugar.
Cambodia imported 23.7 million kilograms of sugar from Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Malaysia in 2010, totalling US$5.8 million, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Figures for 2011 were not yet available, ministry officials said this week.
Phnom Penh Sugar has so far planted sugarcane on 20,000 of its total 40,000 hectares in the Thpong and Oral districts of Kampong Speu, Chheang Kimsruon said, with one hectare yielding about 700 kilograms of sugar.
The $150 million factory was located on 50 hectares in Thpong district, she said.
Cambodian law dictates that economic land concessions not exceed 10,000 hectares, but that law has often been flouted in practice.
Ly Yong Phat’s Kampong Speu operation has drawn attention for the eviction of villagers living on the land concessions he had been granted. But while the villagers have protested the alleged land-grabbing, Chheang Kimsruon denied any wrongdoing.
“There was some protesting at first, but we’re not having any problems now,” she claimed, saying some locals had been hired to work in the sugar mill at a salary of 13,000 riel a day.
One villager, Khem Srey Pao of Omlaing commune in Thpong district, said she was summoned by authorities on December 13, accused of occupying land owned by the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, the Post reported this week. She and two other villagers were expected to appear in Phnom Penh court last Monday.