Cambodian mangoes are ready for export to the South Korea market with the first shipment officially kicking off in early November, Hyundai Agro, the Korean exporter, said.
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Chang Hoon Lee, managing director of Hyundai Agro, said last month the company has now received final approval from the Korean government’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency.
“There is a very tough process because there are really strict requirements when it comes to importing fruit, especially, into South Korea.
“However, everything will go as planned and, after we passed the requirement, this means there is no further problem for us. It can also be a signal to other countries such as China and Japan to export their mangos,” he said.
He noted that there are no cargo airplanes between Korea and Cambodia so the company is figuring out how to send 10 to 15 tonnes of mango by ship.
“We have a lot of experience and technical know-how to send produce by ship. It would take six days to reach the destination and we can maintain the fruit’s freshness,” he explained.
“We will send fresh mangoes first and we will try to expand more items such as coconuts, mangosteens, pineapples as well as dry fruits.”
Although the company got permission from the government, Chang Hoon Lee noted that there is another obstacle when it comes to competition with Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, and the Philippines.
Vietnam and Thailand have an air cargo connection with South Korea and enjoy a very low cost of transportation. Every day, Thailand sends more than 100 tonnes of mangoes to Korea and they are dispersed everywhere in one day, while Vietnam’s duties for mango exports are lower than for Cambodia because of the free trade agreement area, Mr Lee pointed out.
The Korean market has big expectations for Cambodian mangoes known as Keo Romeat and it has had very good success in its negotiations to supply big supermarket chains, he added.
Last December, Hyundai Agro launched a three-hectare fruit processing facility in Kampong Speu’s Phnom Srouch district. It can process up to 50,000 tonnes of fruit a year, including coconuts, durians and mangosteens. The Korean firm teamed up with local mango producer Mao Legacy Co Ltd to plant mangoes on 2,400 hectares in the province.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently called on farmers growing “prioritised” agricultural goods to register with the ministry in exchange for assistance to help them meet China’s stringent sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements.
However, only farms growing mangoes have registered so far, according to Ke Monyvuth, director of the ministry’s crop protection and SPS department.
“We expect that fresh mangoes will be the next agricultural product that Cambodia exports to China and we are now working to provide technical assistance to farmers to prepare for the requirements of the Chinese market,” Mr Monyvuth said.