VIETNAMESE firm Five Star International Group has asked for approval to build a US$65 million natural fertiliser plant in Kandal province, an economic consultant to Vietnam's embassy in Phnom Penh said Thursday.
Le Bien Cuong said the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) was mulling the application.
"We hope that the construction of the new plant will be able to start in October this year," he said.
The group said the plant, to be built in Samraong Thom commune in Kandal province's Kien Svay district, 20 kilometres east of Phnom Penh, will have capacity to produce 350,000 tonnes of fertiliser per year.
The construction of the plant is expected to finish within 20 months of being approved by the CDC, Le Bien Cuong said. CDC officials could not be contacted for comment Thursday.
Lim Sokun, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said the investment project would help reduce reliance on imported fertiliser, of which around 100,000 tonnes is imported each year by 20 companies, ministry figures show.
Yang Saing Koma, director of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, said Cambodia needs millions of tonnes of natural fertiliser every year because nutrients have been depleted from most of the country's soil as a result of long-term cultivation.
"If the Vietnamese company can produce natural fertiliser using local raw materials ... it will not only help create job opportunities for Cambodian people but also help re-fertilise our land," he said.