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Mong Reththy Group set to ink farm deal

Mong Reththy Group set to ink farm deal

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The Mong Reththy Group will need to pay close attention to the health of its cows at proposed farm, experts say.

Joint venture with British agriculture firm to provide local supply of cow and goat meat and milk

Cambodia's Mong Reththy Group (MRG) and British farming firm Lordswood Farm Ltd plan to set up a US$27 million joint-venture cow and goat farm early next year.

Mong Reththy, the president of the eponymous conglomerate, said Monday that the British partner has agreed in principle to invest, and he expected the deal to be inked in early September. Work would then begin early next year, he added.
MRG and Lordswood would each hold a 50 percent stake.

Mong Reththy said the farm would include a slaughterhouse and produce meat and milk for the local market to reduce Cambodia's reliance on imports.

"Currently, both cow milk and goat milk is 100 percent imported into Cambodia, and the best-quality cow and goat meat is also imported," he said.

Almost 40 tonnes of beef was imported in 2008 to meet a shortfall, official figures showed.

The farm will be located on 200 hectares in the Oknha Mong Port development zone in Preah Sihanouk province, which is owned by MRG in a joint venture with Thailand's TCCI.

Challenges
Sen Sovann, deputy secretary general at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in charge of domestic cattle production, welcomed the investment but said the hot weather in Cambodia could make it difficult for the farm to produce high-quality milk.

"Of course, milk consumed in Cambodia is 100 percent imported, and good-quality meats are too," he said.

"But, in hot weather, cows face the disease of mastitis, and they need good care, good forage and high technology to control the temperature in the facilities."

Mastitis is an inflammation of the udder resulting from infection or trauma and results in reduced quantity and quality of milk.

MRG announced in July it planned to import US$1 million worth of cattle sperm from the United Kingdom for a breeding programme to meet local demand.

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