Cambodia exported a total of 64,660 tonnes of soybeans and mung beans in the first four months of this year, roughly doubling from the same period in 2021, with more than 96.5 per cent bought by Vietnam, according to the agriculture ministry.

In January-April, soybean and mung bean exports amounted to 53,960 tonnes and 10,700 tonnes, respectively, both rising by 100 per cent year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported.

All mung bean exports went to Vietnam, which was also the top buyer of soybeans, at 51,710 tonnes or 95.8 per cent of the total, followed by Thailand (2,250 tonnes).

While the ministry did not disclose the export value of the two Faboideae legumes – a category known in Khmer as “sandek” – but reported that exports of non-rice agricultural products over the period – including cassava, cashew nuts, fresh bananas, pomelos, mangoes, palm oil, peppercorn, tobacco, corn and other vegetables – clocked in at more than $1.087 billion.

Ouk Samnang, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Prey Veng, which borders Vietnam’s Dong Thap and Long An provinces, affirmed that the harvests of Prey Veng’s farmers were growing.

This, coupled with coordination by the provincial authorities, even during the worst of Covid-19, has propelled the volume of Prey Veng’s agricultural exports to Vietnam, he told The Post.

Although Samnang could not provide concrete provincial export data, he did say prices this year were by and large similar to 2021 levels.

“Agricultural exports from Cambodia to Vietnam have shown positive signs across almost all commodities, especially paddy rice. This growth will be even greater as agricultural cultivation is on the rise,” he said.

Samnang pointed out that there are two major international border checkpoints in the province used to export agricultural goods: the Banteay Chakrei gate in Preah Sdach district and the Koh Roka gate to the west in Peam Chor district.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the data indicates that the Kingdom’s agricultural output is growing steadily.

He suggested that this could be in part due to an uptick in agricultural investment, as well as new strategies introduced by the government designed for Cambodia to gain independence over its food supply as well as export potential.

“This growth in agricultural exports not only helps farmers and the government earn more, but also inspires confidence in other countries to buy agricultural products from Cambodia,” he said.

Nak Pheap, a vendor of Faboideae legumes – which includes most beans, peas, lentils and peanuts, but not tamarinds – in Phnom Penh’s historic Orussey Market, said sales of soybeans and mung beans have been strong this year, although prices of both have inched up slightly compared to last year.

She said wholesale prices for top-grade soybeans now average about 3,800 riel ($0.93) per kilogramme, up from 3,200 riel in the same time last year, while the same for first-rate mung beans is around 5,200 riel, or similar to last year.

Pheap noted that prices for the two beans tend to change relatively little due to their long shelf lives.

Last year, Cambodia exported 105,655.04 tonnes of soybeans – up 264.24 per cent over 2020 – to Vietnam (82,705 tonnes), Thailand (22,950 tonnes) and the UAE (0.04 tonnes), according to the agriculture ministry.

Mung bean exports amounted to 29,192.35 tonnes, up 189.61 per cent over 2020, which were sold to Vietnam (29,170 tonnes) and Taiwan (22.35 tonnes).