Longmate Agriculture, one of five local companies allowed to export bananas directly to China, said they are on track to meet its goal of shipping 22,000 tonnes of the fruit by the end of the year.
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Speaking to Khmer Times on Monday, Hun Lak, Longmate Agriculture director, said they have exported the fruit every month since the first shipment in early May.
“Our goal was to ship 22,000 tonnes of fresh yellow bananas to China and we are on course to meet that target,” he said, adding that small changes in yield due to weather conditions might slightly alter the total amount of fruit shipped in 2019.
He said the company is organising shipments of the fruit every month, each taking about 11 days to reach Chinese ports. Longmate is exporting to Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, and Shenzhen, Mr Lak said, although he did not reveal the volume of each shipment.
“The market price of the fruit depends on the season,” he said, noting that it can fetch up to $600 per tonne.
The company is growing the fruit in more than 400 hectares of land in Kampot province’s Chhuk district, which is also where the company’s packaging plant is located. There are plans to expand the plantation to 10,000 hectares by the end of this year.
Next year, Longmate aims to reach 33,000 tonnes in banana exports to China, Mr Lak said.
In May, the Ministry of Agriculture permitted five local companies to export bananas directly to China – Longmate Agriculture, Long Sreng Hua Jian Agriculture Development, Green Island Agriculture Development, Sovann Reachsey, and Grand Land Agriculture Development.
That same month, the five companies held a joint ceremony to mark the shipment of 100 tonnes of fresh yellow bananas to the Chinese market.
Ministry spokesperson Srey Vuthy told Khmer Times on Monday that, except for Longmate, the ministry has not heard back from the companies regarding whether or not they have been shipping the fruit to China.
“We haven’t received any information since we granted them permission to export the fruit to China,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon has said that Cambodian yellow bananas will sell very well overseas, helping the country expand its exports.
“Banana exports to China will significantly contribute to the development of the agriculture sector and national economic growth.”
Cambodia is expected to ship 130,000 tonnes of bananas to the Chinese market this year, the minister noted.