Thais eye Keo Romeat mangoes

Sok Chan / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Cambodian mango varieties such as Keo Romeat are well regarded in overseas markets. Supplied

A Thai company has expressed an interest in exporting Kampong Speu’s Keo Romeat mangoes to Europe, America and Australia, according to a senior Agriculture Ministry official. 
 
Hean Vanhan, a director general at the ministry, told Khmer Times the fruit would be exported through Cambodia’s Pailin province to Lat Krabang port in Thailand. 
 
The idea was raised at a meeting last Friday between Mr Vanhan and Thai officials, led by former Thai embassy counsellor minister Jiranun Wongmongkol.
 
Mr Vanhan said Cambodia will handle the sanitation and phyto-sanitation certifications for the Thai company if the Thai government allows the export via Lat Krabang port, which will save on logistics costs. 
 
“We are asking the Thai embassy to liaise with the Thai government to ask approval for accessing Lat Krabang port,” Mr Vanhan said. 
 
Oum Savoeun, president of the Keo Romeat Mango Association in Kampong Speu, welcomed the move. He said his association, which consists of 32 families, produced about 10,000 tonnes of Keo Romeat mangoes on 2,000 hectares of farmland this year. 
 
However, he said, investment in growing the fruit seems hard to come by due to its low prices.
 
“Currently, the association has no investors, but there are a lot of businessmen from Thailand and Vietnam who want to purchase Keo Romeat mangoes from us. The price is only 250 riel ($0.06) per kilogram at the moment,” Mr Savoeun said. “It was 1,500 riel ($0.37) in previous years.”  
 
Mr Vanhan said the ministry was trying to seek markets for locally grown mangoes to support farmers. He added the ministry had also signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korea to export the mangoes there, but there was a lack of private investors to back the deal. 
 
“It has been nearly two years since the ministry signed the MoU with South Korea, but private companies in Cambodia don’t have the relevant experience and no one wants to invest,” he said. 
 
“We will facilitate exports to through Thailand as soon as the company and the government there is ready.”  
 
Mong Reththy, owner and founder of the Mong Reththy Group Co. Ltd., told Khmer Times that the difficulties Cambodian mango exporters faced were the lack of cold storage and systematic packing facilities, and the absence of good internationally-recognised agricultural practices or GAP.
 
Mr Reththy said GAP acts as a new barrier for exports from developing countries, but he argued that this can be a catalyst for upgrading the country’s food supply system for export growth.
 
 “Highly perishable fruits like mango must be handled with the greatest care during and after harvesting. Pre-harvest and post-harvest production factors affect the quality of mangoes that can be exported,” he added.
 
 “During seasons of bumper crops, the grower is confronted with surpluses and low prices. And currently, we are facing that problem.”

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