AN OMAN company could import up to 300,000 juvenile river lobsters from Cambodia in a trade deal set to boost local production.
Haing Leap, deputy director of the Department of Fish and Farming Development at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said an Omani company is negotiating with the department to buy the young freshwater lobsters to raise them for sale in the Middle East.
The first step of the deal will see the business taking 5,000 young river creatures, at a cost of US$0.07 each, to test their development in Oman.
The government hopes that the Kingdom’s farmers will build more lobster-rearing stations if they secure sales of baby crustaceans. “If the plan is carried out successfully, it will help boost the breeding of young freshwater lobsters in Cambodia,” he said.
Khiev Sam, a lobster breeder at a station in Takeo province’s Tram Kak district, said: “This is good news. If we are able to sell our young lobsters overseas, we will have a bigger market.”
Few local farmers raise lobsters in Cambodia and breeding programs are limited, prompting the Japanese government in 2005 to donate $5 million to support a five-year lobster rearing project. At present, 70 farmers have joined force to build river lobster breeding stations.
Haing Leap said Cambodia now has four large enterprises, each able to breed from 1 million to 2 million young lobsters per year. The stations sold 500,000 young lobsters to farmers in Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampot, Kandal and Mondulkiri provinces and Phnom Penh last year.