A local firm plans to set up a rice bran cooking oil factory in northern Battambang province’s Thma Koul district that meets international standards, to supply the domestic market and export.

Srey Chanthorn, CEO of Skyland 7NG, said in a Facebook post on December 10 that a path to the designated site of the project was being cleared, after getting the nod from local authorities.

He said that he had prepared a Krong Peali Buddhist blessing ceremony as part of his request for permission from the landowners to build the facilities, including a warehouse and office.

He also revealed future plans for a canned fruit factory and another that would can other unspecified foods.

These projects would “help Cambodian farmers and provide jobs”, and supplement government efforts “to reduce migration to neighbouring countries, as well as curb imports”, he said.

The Post could not reach Chanthorn by press time for comment on the value of the investment or timeframe for construction.

Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout was not privy to these details, but he told The Post on December 14 that he heard from Chanthorn that the site was chosen due to the large number of rice mills in the area, with which he could enter a contract for bran.

He said production at the factory would help curb the use of imported cooking oil, which he noted is often not up to quality or other relevant standards, and could pose health risks.

Chanthorn believes that rice bran produces a superior oil to that obtained from palm fruits, according to the provincial commerce chief.

Hout said he had told officials of the provincial Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) branch to keep tabs on the project.

Battambang provincial Department of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation director Toch Chhuon Saorith said he had yet to receive an application or report on the venture.

However, in an apparent endorsement of the project, he did say the plant would provide employment opportunities and income for locals.

Similarly, Battambang Provincial Administration spokesman Soeum Bunrith said he welcomes any plan to set up a factory in the province, which he said would help boost economic growth and create jobs, encouraging people not to migrate.

“It’d help our local unemployed who have to go to Thailand for work. Local jobs are better, as the old adage goes: ‘It is better to trade near than far’. Far away, we’d get higher salaries, that’s true, but we’d also spend a lot of money on food and accommodation,” he said.

He added that locals could get a job at the factory and develop a range of new knowledge and skills that are not easily obtainable in the area.