It takes three hours by car to get to the quiet province of Pursat from Phnom Penh, winding westwards along approximately 200 kilometres on National Road 5. Recently, though, the sleepy town has been stirring under some ongoing developments in the form of a combined borey and organic market project.
Slated to be the second largest organic fruit and vegetable market after the one in Battambang province, which was established in 2008, the borey/organic market project is spearheaded by private developer and business tycoon Phou Puy.
The development is located in Pursat’s Pur Takuy village of the Lolok Sor commune.
“We are developing this project on an area of 50 hectares, and it is located about 50 metres from National Road 5,” Puy said.
“The decision to run this project was because we observed the economic growth of the people around here, as well as the favourable growth of agriculture thanks to the canals and fields,” he added.
Puy is confident that the technical inspection group on his team will raise the quality of products sold by local farmers in the vicinity. He is also adamant that no chemical companies from Thailand or Vietnam will taint the chemical-free produce he aims to promote.
Although it bears the name organic, the produce at the new market will be mostly chemical-free, as there is no certified body of organisation in Cambodia to deduce what products are truly organic or not. Furthermore, real organic produce are oftentimes much more expensive than normal ones.
27 out of the 50 hectares will be dedicated to the borey project, while two hectares will be set aside to all farmers in Pursat to sell their vegetables for free under a five year lease. This was in accordance to an agreement made between Puy and the minister of Mines and Energy, Suy Sem.
“We started this project in mid-2016, and hope to complete it soon,” Puy said.
To date, more than $8 million has been spent on the combined borey and market development, although Puy was unable to pinpoint the exact cost once the project is completed.
At present, around 200 flathouses within the borey project have been booked. Most of them are locals residing in and around Pursat who recognise the ideal location of the development situated near the town.
Each flathouse measures 76 square metres, and costs range between $38,000 and $58,000.
Puy said he made the decision to start the project in order to encourage farmers to grow their own chemical-free produce and reduce the number of imported products.
According to Puy, competition among farmers in the area was tight, thus he wanted to create another outlet to expand their reach and income. At the same time, building a large-scale project such as his would advance the construction and infrastructure progress in the province.
“When the province’s construction sector grows, local people are more encouraged to take better care of the existing infrastructure,” he added.