SOUTH Korean company KOGID Cambodia Co said Sunday it will start building a US$1.2 million corn-drying plant and accommodation for workers in Battambang provinces's Rotanak Mondol district by the end of this year.
KOGID Manager Oung Savuth said the company will begin building as soon as it finishes discussions with the government and receives a licence.
"We hope that when construction is finished, the machine will be able to dry 500 tonnes of corn a day and will help create jobs for 50 workers," he said.
If the Rotanak Mondol plant proves to be a success, the company will build more, Oung Savuth said, identifying three sites in Battambang and one in Kampong Cham province.
The company in July announced plans to invest $150 million to buy between 70,000 and 150,000 tonnes of red corn from farmers in Battambang, Pailin, Kampong Cham and Kandal provinces to process into animal food for export.
Battambang Chamber of Commerce Chairman Phou Puy said farmers currently sell corn at depressed prices, as they can't dry it sufficiently to meet quality standards at market.
Ten corn-drying plants have already been built in Battambang, Pailin and Banteay Meanchey provinces, all on Cambodia's border with Thailand, Phou Puy said.
Cheam Chan Sophorn, director of Battambang province's agriculture department, said the drying facilities could encourage farmers to grow more corn than last year.
Ministry of Agriculture figures show that 92,732 hectares of corn were planted in Battambang province in 2008, yielding 423,966 tonnes of corn, the highest in the country.