The Kingdom exported nearly 265,230 tonnes of fresh mangoes and mango products in 2021, up by 146.3 per cent year-on-year, of which the Vietnamese market absorbed just under 199,636.7 tonnes, according to Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries data.
Exports of fresh mangoes, dehydrated products, and syrup weighed in at 242,483.76 tonnes, 17,879.82 tonnes and 4,866.18 tonnes, respectively, representing respective year-on-year increases of 148.38 per cent, 179.30 per cent, and 33.28 per cent, the ministry reported.
Vietnam was the main buyer of fresh mango at 199,077.38 tonnes, followed by Thailand (38,419.28 tonnes), mainland China (4,771 tonnes), South Korea (149.11 tonnes), Hong Kong (50.78 tonnes), Singapore (16.20 tonnes) and Kuwait (0.01 tonnes).
China topped the list of dried mango importers at 14,246.20 tonnes, followed by Thailand (1,501.13 tonnes), the Philippines (975.08 tonnes), Vietnam (559.30 tonnes), Japan (523.70 tonnes), Russia (23 tonnes), the UK (21.14 tonnes), South Korea (18.70 tonnes), the US (8.56 tonnes), Taiwan (three tonnes) and Kazakhstan (0.05 tonnes).
The Philippine and mainland Chinese markets bought 4,698.63 tonnes and 167.55 tonnes of Cambodian mango syrup, respectively.
Hun Lak, CEO of Rich Farm Asia Ltd, a local agricultural investor that grows Keo Romiet mangoes in Kampong Speu province, told The Post on January 19 that mangoes have a wealth of untapped export potential, especially after China authorised the direct export of the fruit from Cambodia.
He believes that although the Kingdom has been unable to effectively capitalise on the agreement, mango exports to China will log a considerable upswing as the harvest season kicks off.
Mango growers in the Kingdom typically get two crops each year from their trees, over a dry season harvest that usually takes place in March-April, and the smaller rainy season harvest in October-November.
On the other hand, Lak noted that the sheer scale of the Chinese market breeds plenty of competition, which results in lower prices.
Observers expect that the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), both of which came into force on January 1, will pave the way for a steep ramp-up in the production and processing of mango for export.
Um Savoeun, president of the Kampong Speu province-based Kirirom Keo Romiet Mango Agricultural Community (KKRMAC), noted that although mango cultivation areas and yields have increased each year, market and price woes have led to neglect.
The ongoing Covid-driven Sino-Vietnam border restrictions could pose headaches for the local export market as well, he said, pointing out that Vietnam regularly buys Cambodian mangoes to ship to China.
“Vietnam – Cambodia’s main market – is in distress, and if Vietnam’s export market were to be in trouble, mango sales from Cambodia to Vietnam too would be in dire straits,” he said, adding that he has asked the government to help find other destinations for exports to avert a major blow to the sector.