China may allow half a million tonnes of Cambodia’s mangoes

A seller shows his mangoes at a local market. KT/Chor Sokunthea. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PHNOM PENH, Jun 6, 2020, The Phnom Penh Post. The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia announced on its Facebook page on Thursday that Chinese and Cambodian officials are scheduled to sign an agreement on June 9 permitting the Kingdom to export 500,000 tonnes of mangoes per year to China, The Phnom Penh Post reported.

The meeting will be held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Mangoes will become the second agricultural product given the green light for export to China after yellow bananas were approved in April of last year.

The opening of the Chinese market is expected to further promote the development of agricultural products in Cambodia, and insiders said receiving large import orders from China will be a great boon for the Kingdom’s economy.

Mong Reththy, board chairman of agro-industrial conglomerate Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd, which invests in the cultivation and export of mangoes, told The Post on Thursday that the agreement will provide many benefits to the people, the mango growers, the investors and the national economy.

He said China represents a large market for mangoes and transporting them there will be easier than exporting them to European markets.

He added that his company currently exports mangoes to many countries in Europe as well as Russia.

“I am very happy that Cambodia can officially export mangoes to China. I plan to grow more mangoes when the market materialises,” he said.

Reththy said he received a call on Thursday morning from a Chinese embassy representative who told him to register his company with the ministry to enable him to export greater quantities of mangoes to China.

Although he says he currently owns about 70,000 mango trees and his partners own hundreds of thousands of trees, Reththy claims that to meet China’s demand, Cambodia has to expand its cultivation of the desirable fruit.

“To be able to provide 500,000 tonnes of mangoes per year to China, growers and exporters will need to cooperate,” he said.

Vann Rithy, general manager of Angkor Mango, which exports fresh mangoes to Thailand and mango jam to Japan, said the market will improve when Cambodia can directly export to China, the world’s largest mango market.

The opening of mango exports not only enhances the value of Cambodian mangoes and increases the income of farmers but it will also steer more investment to the sector.

Rithy said that because there is no clear market at present, the Kingdom’s mangoes do not have a clear market value.

“China is a big market, so allowing us to export mangoes there directly would prove a godsend,” he said.

He noted that the price of mangoes during the most recent harvest season dropped significantly, with prices per kg ranging between 200 riel ($0.05) and 300 riel.

At the end of last year, mangoes were selling for about 1,400 to 1,500 riel per kilogramme.

Rithy said: “The unclear market, coupled with border restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, have been the major reasons for the significant drop of mango prices.”

However, he said he did not know yet whether mangoes sent to China would be subject to restrictions on phytosanitary treatment conditions, which are used to kill plant pests, packaging restrictions, exporter restrictions or quotas.

In January, Cambodia and South Korea signed an agreement to allow Cambodia to export mangoes directly to South Korea through Hyundai Mao Legacy Co Ltd, a company that uses steam treatment to sterilise their crops and exterminate pests, a practice preferred by South Koreans.

A ministry report said Cambodia exported 44,099 tonnes of fresh mangoes during the first five months of the year, up 50.95 per cent from 29,214 tonnes in the same period last year.

The Kingdom exported 58,162 tonnes of fresh mangoes last year to Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, France, Russia and Hong Kong.

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