Fresh mango exporters say demand for mangoes from overseas markets, especially China, is beginning to recover, however mango production has declined in early 2023.

Hun Lak, CEO of Tropicam Fruit and Vegetable Co Ltd, one of the Kingdom’s largest mango exporters, said that in 2021 and 2022, mango prices fell due to Chinese lockdowns. He added that rising transportation costs were also a barrier to exports.

“These factors led to many mango growers giving up the business or abandoning their plantations,” he added.

“This has led to a decline in this year’s mango harvest. Demand from China has recovered, and shipping transport costs have fallen, so buyers are once again placing large orders, but we have little mango production,” he continued.

Lak has just returned home from France, where he accompanied Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina on a visit to a large agricultural fair in Paris. He said a French state-owned company was interested in importing Cambodian mangoes.

“Initial discussions are underway between the agriculture minister and the private sector,” he added.

“This is just the first step. We need to conduct a thorough examination of French sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and the logistics system,” he continued.

Van Rithy, head of export at agri-machinery firm Angkor Green, agreed that mango production in Cambodia has declined, while prices have recovered.

He added that from October 2022 to date, the supply of mangoes decreased by about 50 to 70 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.

“Last year, we harvested many mangoes but there was limited demand, so many growers made a loss. Farmers were unsure if the market would recover, so many of them ceased production. Others no longer had the capital to continue,” he continued.

According to Rithy, the mango export sector remains unstable, despite the reopening of the Chinese markets.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2022, Cambodia exported more than 163,400 tonnes of fresh mangoes, down 33 per cent from the same period in 2021. 99,800 tonnes were exported to Vietnam, followed by Thailand (34,900 tonnes), China (27,400 tonnes), Korea (186 tonnes) and Hong Kong (26 tonnes), with several smaller orders going to other countries.

Exports of dried mangoes reached 18,490 tonnes, an increase of more than 3 per cent, with China topping the list of buyers, at 15,800 tonnes. They were followed by Vietnam, with 1,323 tonnes. The Philippines and Japan imported less than 1,000 tonnes, with Russia taking 71 tonnes. Several smaller orders were placed by other European nations.