The government yesterday gave the green light to a Chinese-owned firm, Longmate Agriculture Co Ltd, to invest in a banana plantation in Kampot province.
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The move follows the signing of a deal with China last week that allows the shipment of Cambodian bananas to the biggest market in the world.
The farm targeted by the Chinese firm is in Chhouk district, and has the potential to create 600 jobs once operational, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) said.
Longmate Agriculture will also invest in packaging facilities, CDC said. China is likely to be the target market for the firm.
The newly approved project shows the potential use of agricultural land and will provide technical jobs to local workers, said Chan Rithy, director of Kampot’s Agricultural Department.
“This is a good project because the local labour force will have jobs at the farm that will provide them technical skills related to planting bananas for export,” he said.
He said in the province bananas are part of family plantations but they are not commercially viable.
There are now three banana farms registered for export and for commercial sales in the country, said Hean Vanhan, director of the General Directorate of Agriculture.
Located in Kratie, Ratanakkiri, and Kampot, they cover 5,000 hectares of land and can produce up to 14,000 tonnes of bananas, he said.
Bananas grown in Ratanakkiri have been exported to Vietnam since 2016, Mr Vanhan said, adding that the first shipment of bananas to China is expected to take place in 2019.