A group of investors from the Chinese province of Hainan is now in the Kingdom exploring opportunities in coconut farming.
The delegation met yesterday with Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon in Phnom Penh to discuss the coconut sector in the Kingdom and announce their intention to invest here.
Wang Yeqiao, director of Hainan State Farms Investment Holding Group, told the Cambodian minister that the Kingdom’s coconuts could be exported to China, noting that neighbouring Thailand already exports the product.
He noted that coconuts in Cambodia and Thailand grow under similar soil and climate conditions.
“Coconuts – like rice, mango, banana, and cassava – can also be exported to China. Cambodian coconuts have great potential, but the sector here remains undeveloped,” Mr Wang said.
Mr Sakhon welcomed the group’s intention to invest here and said the government is working to expand the types of products exported to the Chinese market.
“Cambodian coconuts have good quality. If we teach efficient farming techniques and establish agricultural cooperatives we can add even more value to them,” Mr Sakhon said.
A study has found that the coconut sector in Cambodia remains largely underdeveloped and untapped, despite showing that the industry could generate far larger profits if other uses for the ubiquitous commodity were considered, such as using coconuts and its derivatives for cooking, building materials, and fuel.
Conducted by the Global Leaders Program of Hong Kong-based think tank Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), the paper concludes that developing the country’s full potential in the coconut industry could have far-reaching economic, social and environmental impacts.
A lack of infrastructure and know-how when it comes to coconut processing is keeping the sector stuck at a very primal stage of development, the study underlined.
Coconuts are traditionally planted in the southwest of the country. Most coconuts in Cambodia come from Kampot, Kep, Takeo, Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong and Kampong Speu provinces.
Hainan State Farms Investment Holding Group is the largest state-owned agricultural enterprise in Hainan.