China firm invests $70M in mango project
by Hom Phanet
A Chinese company has invested nearly $70 million to grow six varieties of mangoes in Stung Treng province for export to the Chinese market, with plans to channel a further $500 million into a large-scale exporting operation down the line.
Green Sea Agriculture Co Ltd has been growing six varieties of mangoes imported from Taiwan, the US and Australia: R2E2, JinHwang, Keitt, Guifei, TaiNong, and Guire, according to a statement posted on Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon’s official Facebook page.
Its plantation currently covers a total area of 1,200ha, equivalent to 12 per cent of its master plan. To date, it has invested nearly $70 million in its mango plantation, and revealed plans to invest an additional $500 million to expand mango cultivation and export the fruit to the Chinese market on a large scale.
Green Sea said its objective was to export to China via Vietnam, Thailand and the Preah Sihanouk port, according to the statement.
The company acknowledged it has been facing teething problems with transportation since its initial harvest, but noted it has introduced cold-storage facilities that will reduce costs, which has been its main issue.
Green Sea also applied for registration of its mango plantations at the General Department of Agriculture, and received professional advice from department officials on “planting techniques, harvesting, packaging and especially on how to meet phytosanitary requirements”, the statement added.
The agriculture minister told The Post that the observation of phytosanitary procedures was important and an essential requirement in exports, owing to countries’ differing and often strict laws governing such imports.
He said the ministry has provided support for companies in their efforts in cultivation and export processes, especially with regards to the implementation of phytosanitary procedures.
Sakhon praised Green Sea’s careful study of the mango market, noting that they have focused on cultivating very few varieties of mangoes and those which are diversified from the main variety in Cambodia, Keo Romiet.
“Cambodian farmers grow mangoes by emulating their counterparts and have not studied the market properly, whereas the Chinese company Green Sea has studied the market clearly before deciding to grow the kinds of mangoes they have. The company’s mango cultivation is clear and thorough, and they have determined that there is no shortage of markets,” he said.
Mong Reththy, board chairman of namesake conglomerate Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd, said he has encouraged his farmers to switch from cultivating Keo Romiet to other mango cultivars such as Namdokmai, Irwin and its Taiwanese variety Aiwen, and “Australian apple” – most likely R2E2 – so as to remain competitive, noting that profits from Keo Romiet have recently been driven down due to rising fertiliser, pesticide and fuel costs.
“We hope the price of mangoes will improve after Covid-19 tapers off,” he said.
Hun Lak, CEO of Rich Farm Asia Ltd, said that the viability and marketability of some mango varieties, such as R2E2, JinHwang and Keitt, was still being tested.
His company grows Keo Romiet and Taiwanese mango, but only exports the former, as the potential of Taiwanese mango for mass export is still being examined. “We have been communicating with potential distributors in Europe and South Korea. If there is progress in negotiations, we will expand the cultivation of other types of mango to meet market demand,” he said.
Cambodia first exported fresh mangoes to the Chinese market in early May. Currently, five companies have been authorised to export the fruit.
According to a General Directorate of Agriculture report, in the first quarter of 2022, the export of fresh mangoes totalled 81,418 tonnes, a decrease of 20.73 per cent, and exports of dried-mango amounted to 5,136 tonnes, falling by 13.43 per cent.