During a visit to a local crocodile farm last week, the Minister of Agriculture highlighted the potential to increase exports of live crocodiles to China while stressing the need to create processing facilities in the Kingdom to climb up the value chain in the sector.
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Minister Veng Sakhon on Thursday paid a visit to a crocodile farm in Siem Reap’s Chreav commune, where he urged the farm owner, Choy Chhin, to consider the Chinese market.
“To expand the market for Cambodian crocodiles, particularly in China, farmers need to work with the Fisheries Administration, who can help them improve their farming techniques and market knowledge.
“Likewise, no effort should be spared when it comes to maximising the number of processing activities and processing jobs in the country. This should be our focus in order to increase the value of our products,” the minister said.
The main markets for Cambodian crocodiles are Vietnam and Thailand, with Cambodia shipping about 350,000 live crocodiles every year, Mr Chhin told Mr Sakhon.
Mr Chhin said he alone exports about 10,000 to 15,000 specimens every year, with the farm earning around $150,000 to $200,000 in revenue.
He said that when a crocodile reaches three years of age it can be sold abroad because its skin meets buyers’ requirements. He said a crocodile that is at least three years old fetches $3 to $6 per kilogram.
Mr Chhin’s farm, which has been running for more than 20 years, has 4,400 crocodiles being farmed on 16,000 square metres of land.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, last year there were about 410,000 crocodiles in Cambodian farms, an increase of 17,223 specimens compared to 2017.