Amru Rice Cambodia hopes to partner with a Singapore investor to set up a processing factory for organic cassava in Oddar Meanchey province, aiming to improve the livelihood of farmers, reduce poverty and compete with agriculture products from neighbouring countries.
Song Saran, Amru Rice’s CEO, said both parties were working on the details.
Once the plan is finalised and the Singapore investor has decided to invest, work on the factory will start.
It is expected to be completed by 2018 with a processing capacity of 200 tonnes of cassava per day.
“We are trying to convince the Singapore company to build the cassava processing factory in Cambodia because they have already set up four processing factories in Thailand,” Mr Saran said.
“Once the Singaporean investor decides to invest in the processing factory in Oddar Meanchey province, my company will supply the raw material.
“We will have a contract with farmers in the province,” Mr Saran said.
Mr Saran said that the processed cassava will be used as a food ingredient.
“The trend of consumers is moving to organic products, so we have to push it. Therefore, we are trying to convince the Singapore investor to set up a processing factory here in Cambodia because it could help some of our people and the agriculture sector,” he said.
“We have the raw material, but we lack a processing factory to connect us to the important markets.”
Mr Saran said both parties had chosen organic cassava because it stood up against competition from neighboring countries and could fetch a high price for farmers.
However they would also purchase non-organic cassava from farmers to stabilise the cassava price.
“We will meet with Singapore investors again soon to finalise the plan as we don’t want to see the factory close after running for a few months,” he added.
Oddar Meanchey provincial agriculture department director Sot Si Sokheang, welcomed the move and said he was waiting for the processing factory to be set up in his province.
He said that the cassava cultivated areas in his province amounted to 60,000 hectares which produced on average 20 tonnes per hectare.
“We want processing and our farmers will support their product going to the factory,” Mr Sokheang said. “I totally support having the processing factory in my province.”
Last year, total land under cassava cultivation was 684,070 hectares, up 24 percent year on year, from 626,180 hectares and 521,459 hectares in 2015 and 2014 respectively, according to an Agriculture Ministry report.
Dry cassava is priced from 554 to 565 riel (about $0.15) per kilogram and fresh cassava is priced from 170 to 205 riel (about $0.05). Last season it was about 508 riel for the dry version and 136 riel for the fresh one.