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Ratanakkiri chalks up $37M in agri-exports

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The Kingdom’s remote northeastern Ratanakkiri province exported 87,604 tonnes of agricultural products worth $37 million to the international market last year, provincial governor Thong Savon said on Monday. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Ratanakkiri chalks up $37M in agri-exports

The Kingdom’s remote northeastern Ratanakkiri province exported 87,604 tonnes of agricultural products worth $37 million to the international market last year, provincial governor Thong Savon said on Monday.

He was speaking at a press conference on the province’s progress update and future direction at the Council of Ministers.

There are 27 export companies operating in the province with licences for economic land concessions totalling 124,669ha, of which 55,043ha are cultivated, he said.

He said crops include rubber trees, cashew nuts, yellow bananas, dragon fruit, coconuts, mangoes, pineapple, durian, jackfruit and oranges.

He added that there are seven rubber processing factories and nine artisanal rubber processors with an average production capacity of 30,479 tonnes per year.

The enterprises play a vital role in providing employment opportunities to 11,136 people, he said. “More than 2,000 workers are still needed to serve the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors.”

Phluk Botum Bopha, who cultivates more than 200ha of durian, pepper, coconuts and rubber trees in the province, told The Post that her plantations yield an annual average of 1,000 tonnes.

This, she said, represents a profit of around $8,000 after subtracting production costs.

She lamented that she had only been able to collect 65 tonnes of pepper during the harvest season this year, down from 75 tonnes last year – of which she still has more than 25 tonnes in stock.

Botum Bopha said: “Nowadays, a tonne of rubber is able to fetch 1,023,000 riel [$248], which is lower than last year. Pepper on the other hand goes for 8,000 riel per kg – which further hives off my profits as the crop price drops every year.

“Most of the province’s agricultural exports are shipped to Vietnam via traders, and our products, like pepper and rubber, are largely dependent on the Vietnamese market.”

Cambodia’s agricultural exports – formal and informal – exceeded four million tonnes in the first half of the year, reported the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Kingdom’s major official agricultural exports include milled rice, cassava, pepper, natural rubber, mangoes, cashew nuts, bananas, corn, soybeans, vegetables and tobacco. Paddy and fresh cassava are the main products shipped unofficially to the Vietnamese market.

Last year, the Kingdom exported more than $5.4 billion worth of agricultural products, the ministry reported.

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