Cambodia reached an official agreement with China on Tuesday to export fresh mangoes in a milestone decision which will open a giant new market for local producers.
The Chinese government officially approved the export of 500,000 tonnes of Cambodian fresh mangoes per year to the country, where total demand for mangoes stands at about eight million tonnes per year, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The agreement titled Requirements for Phytosanitary for the export of fresh mangoes from Cambodia to China was signed by Minister Veng Sakhon and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian on Tuesday at the ministry.
Sakhon said the agreement will provide Cambodia’s agricultural producers with a good opportunity to capitalise on a new market.
Fresh mangoes are the second fruit to be officially permitted for export to China after yellow bananas were approved last year, he said.
“This is a very useful achievement for Cambodia and it is in line with the government’s policy for the development of Cambodian industry from 2015-2025.
“One of the main goals of the policy is to boost the export of agricultural processed goods by 12 per cent of total export volume by 2025,” said Sakhon.
He also encouraged both local and Chinese investors to cooperate in the expansion of mango cultivation areas and improvement of techniques for sterilising crops and exterminating pests.
Wang said China is aware that the Kingdom is a high-potential provider of agricultural products.
The two countries’ strong cooperative efforts have led to more Cambodian agricultural products to be considered for export to Chinese market, he said. Milled rice exports saw significant growth earlier this year.
“I expect that in the near future more Cambodian products will be officially exported to China … I hope that as relations improve, the export of Cambodian products to China will further increase after Covid-19 tapers off.”
A total of 39,398ha were harvested last year, out of the 125,319ha available for the cultivation of mangoes in the Kingdom, ministry data show. Normally, 1ha of land can produce about 30 tonnes of mango per year.
Ngin Chhay, the director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Agriculture said although China has officially allowed Cambodia to export fresh mangoes to the country, it will take time for a consistent market to develop.
He said only good-quality properly-packaged fresh mangoes which adhere to China’s standards would be accepted for export.
The South Korean-owned Hyundai Mao Legacy Co Ltd factory is the only plant in Cambodia which can effectively prepare mangoes for export to China’s standards, he said.
The factory is based in Treng Trayoeng commune’s Peam Tung village in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district. It uses steam treatments to sterilise crops and exterminate pests and can produce about 15 tonnes of export-ready mangoes per day.
Chhay said the success of Cambodian mango exports to China will depend on the private sector’s willingness to invest in vapour heat and hot water treatments to sterilise the fruit.
The installation of a hot-water treatment station can take two to three months, while vapour-heat treatment installations take between five and six, he said.
As of Friday, 20 companies and plantation owners have submitted applications for mango orchards and packaging locations to participate in the new wave of fresh mango exports to China, department data show. The total land area listed in the applications covers 21,286ha.
In January, Cambodia and South Korea signed an agreement to allow Cambodia to export mangoes directly through Hyundai Mao Legacy.
The Kingdom exported 44,099 tonnes of fresh mangoes during the first five months of this year, an increase of around 14,885 tonnes or 50.96 per cent compared to the same period last year, ministry data show.
Last year, it exported 58,162 tonnes of fresh mangoes to six markets – Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, France, Russia and Hong Kong.