Chinese officials last week visited Longmate’s banana factory in Kampot in a move hailed as an effort to allow more Cambodian agricultural goods to enter the world’s second-largest economy.
Hun Lak, Longmate Agriculture director, said the visit of officials from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) on Saturday to his factory was a sign that China is stepping up efforts to allow more Cambodian goods into its market.
He said the inspection is part of a “partnership” to speed up work on greenlighting new agricultural goods to enter the Chinese market after the company successfully shipped 120 tonnes of fresh bananas there in May.
“Longmate Agriculture’s products have been approved by AQSIQ, setting a new benchmark for Cambodian goods,” he said.
He noted that China’s import requirements are very strict, adding that some companies may take as long as 10 years to get their products approved.
“I hope that the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture will work twice as hard to ensure that longan, pepper, dragon fruit, and mango can be exported to China next year,” he said.
Ngin Chhay, director general of the General Department of Agriculture, said the Ministry of Agriculture and AQSIQ recently signed a memorandum of understanding that mapped out a plan for mango and longan exports.
“Negotiating protocols is not a major issue. However, meeting the standards and criteria of the Chinese market can take long,” he said.
Building the infrastructure needed to meet those requirements takes time and capital, he said. For example, to process mangoes that can be shipped to China or Korea, factories need to be equipped with a vapour heat treatment system to control fruit fly infestations.
Li Jainwei, director of the Department of Supervision of Animal and Plant Quarantine at AQSIQ, said his visit to Cambodia seeks to enhance cooperation between the two countries to allow more Cambodian goods into the Chinese market.
“Our work now primarily focuses on mango and longan, which we hope to start importing soon,” he said, adding that China will assist Cambodia by providing training on sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and how to meet them.