Local food and beverage company Park Café will establish a coffee plantation in Mondulkiri province to produce coffee for its own restaurants and help reduce dependency on imported blends, a company executive said yesterday.
Heng Sengly, general manager of Park Café, said the decision made economic sense as the restaurant chain currently has 10 branches, consuming a total of nearly 15 tonnes of coffee a year. He said V-Trust Group, the parent company of Park Café, owns 100 hectares of land in Mondulkiri province.
A pilot project will grow coffee on 10 hectares.
“The challenge when producing a new product is always worrying about market demand,” said Sengly. “But we already have a market so that it is not the issue for the company.”
He added that the real challenge would be growing quality coffee that can compete with its current imports of Vietnamese coffee.
While he admitted that Cambodia grown coffee typically scored low for consumer interest, Park Café could carve out its own niche for domestic consumption.
Only after the locally grown coffee proves successful would the company consider selling beyond its own stores.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cambodia had only 121 hectares of coffee planted as of the end of last year. The majority of coffee was planted in the provinces of Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri.
Yin Chansothy, deputy director of industrial crops department at the Ministry of Agriculture, welcomed the plan to grow more coffee as demand is increasing while cultivation continues to decline.
“We expect that coffee plantations owned by local investors would strengthen Cambodia’s small coffee market,” he said.