A delegation of some of China’s biggest companies in the food-processing industry is scouring the local market for investment opportunities in the agriculture sector.
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Headed by He Jianxiang, the deputy director-general of the Bureau of Product Processing at China’s Ministry of Agriculture, the delegation met yesterday with Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak in Phnom Penh.
“We want to invest in rice, cassava, processed mango and other fruit,” Mr He said.
The group is made up of representatives from nine Chinese companies – Shengfeng Fruit Cooperation, Zefengyuan Agriculture Products, Hubei Zhenghe Rice Company, Xingxin Grain Processing Company, Fuwa Group, Hubei Shuanglushuang Food, Gongying Food Company, Zhanjiang Pineapple Family and Hubei Meilin Grain Trade.
Mr He said opportunities in the local agriculture market are limitless, with the kingdom boasting a great variety of agricultural products.
The delegation is now seeking more data on the local market as it eyes opportunities to strengthen the food-processing sector in Cambodia.
“Our time here in Cambodia is very short, but our companies will continue the dialogue with Cambodian officials and companies back home, and will eventually come up with a detailed plan,” he said.
Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak said the delegation’s visit represents a huge opportunity for the agriculture sector, which, he says, is lacking key infrastructure such as food-processing factories.
“We have the raw material, but we don’t have so many factories. Our doors are always open for Chinese investors who want to build factories and warehouses in Cambodia,” Mr Sorasak said.
He asked investors to consider investments in cassava-processing plants, with the kingdom’s total cassava production amounting to 14 million tonnes of the tuber per year.
“Cassava is the product we produce the most after rice,” he said. “This year we will finish our official policy on cassava, making it easier for investors interested in the sector.”
Trade between Cambodia and China has been increasing on average by 26 percent every year since 2007.
In 2016, bilateral trade reached $4 billion, with Cambodian exports valued at $830 million and imports worth $3 billion.