Hyundai Agro (Cambodia) will export fresh vegetables and other fresh ingredient from Cambodia to South Korea by the end of June this year, its managing director said.
Chang Hoon Lee, MD of the company, said that about 16 types of fresh food will be collected and packed and then exported to South Korea. They include lemon grass, banana leaves, banana flower, lime leaves, water spinach, galanga among others.
“We have already sent two sets of lemon grass as samples to get feed-back from the importer and they decided to accept it. So now we are arranging for lemon grass farmer supplier and my staff will travel to all provinces to find a good quality product with fewer chemicals,” Hoon Lee added.
“We need sincere and honest and reasonable farmers, and we will supply our own fertiliser and pesticide to make it safe to eat. So far we have found five farmers to grow the crop and all of them really want to cooperate with us.”
“We need around 50 to 100 tonnes a year of each crop of banana leaf, banana flower, lime leaf, lemon grass, water spinach and galanga etc. However, we will start to open one crop at a time, step-by-step,” Hoon Lee said. “We are already preparing boxes, stickers, branding and relevant documentation.”
Eng Sokha, the project manager of Hyundai Agro (Cambodia), said that for the lemon grass, the company will pay about 1,000 to 1,200 riels (about $0.25-$30) a kilogramme to the farmers. She added that now the company is seeking the possibility of working with farmers.
She added that the company will look at the first four potential products to collect from farmers, including banana flowers, lemon grass, banana leaves and galanga.
Tong Chantheang, executive director of the Cambodia Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), welcomed the move. She said that during the dry season there is an abundant supply of vegetables but in April and May the supply will be lower.
However, she said that if there is a market, more people will grow lemon grass. She added that farmers in Kampong Speu grow a lot of lemon grass.
Chantheang added that the foods were chosen because they can keep longer and easily be transported.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia exported agricultural products totalling more than 2 million tonnes plus a further 1 million tonnes informally in the first four months this year. From January to April, Cambodia exported 9,301 tonnes of cassava powder, 33,298 tonnes of corn, 2,252 tonnes of pepper, 44 tonnes of vegetable, 420 tonnes of tobacco, 186,205 tonnes of cashew nuts, 42,035 tonnes of mangoes, among other goods.