A vendor presents his mangoes for sale at a Cambodian market. SOURCE: Chor Sokunthea, Khmer Times

SOURCE: Brian Badzmierowski, Khmer Times

Cambodian mangoes produced at a small group of approved packaging factories have been cleared for export to China.

It’s a result of recent improvements to the factories that allowed the fruit to pass China’s phytosanitary requirements.

The General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) officially approved five mango processing facilities and 37 mango plantations.

The GACC made the announcement this week and revealed the list of approved factories: Hyundai Mao Legacy Co Ltd, Shangda Jian Hui International Agriculture Product and Logistics Co Ltd, Al Jazeelan Food PTE Ltd, Long Wo Agriculture (Cambodia) Co Ltd and Boeung Ket Fresh Fruits Co Ltd.

Last month, Chinese and Cambodian officials assessed several farms and processing facilities to gauge whether they were capable of producing mangoes fit for export to China. New technologies at the plants included water heat treatment and vapour heat treatments to effectively sanitise the fruits.

The two countries signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in October last year. Mango exports were expected to jump dramatically under the new trade pact.

Before the FTA was signed, China set a quota for up to 500,000 tonnes of “quality” mangoes to be imported from Cambodia.

Penn Sovicheat, the spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said the ministry was pleased with the recent announcement.

“We consider the permission to export fresh mangoes to China a good opportunity for Cambodian farmers. It also represents the successful efforts of our ministry to enlarge our market acess and diversify our exports, especially in the agricultural sector,” he said.

“The Ministry of Commerce will continue to facilitate the export process within the framework of our mandate”

In June last year, Cambodia and China reached an agreement to start work on implementing stricter phytosanitary measures that must be followed to prevent plant disease.

Pending COVID-19-related restrictions concerning exports, the announcement should be a shot in the arm for the struggling mango industry.

According to multiple media reports, prices for Cambodian mangoes have remained low this year because of an oversupply in the domestic market. At the end of February, prices for mangoes prepared for export were about $.17 per kilogramme, while unpackaged mangoes sold for as low as $.04 per kilogramme.

In January last year, Cambodia began exporting mangoes to South Korea.

In total, Cambodia exported 945,274 tonnes of fresh mangoes last year to the European Union, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. These exports were worth an estimated $473.2 million. As previously reported by Khmer Times, the government listed 340 products to be listed as exports to China under the FTA, including peppers, chillis, pineapples, vegetables, fruit, fish, meats (including processed meat), grain, crabs, seafood and a variety of canned products.

Among those commodities, which are in addition to those already being exported under the ASEAN-China FTA, 95 percent will be tariff-free while tariffs for the remaining 5 percent will be dropped in the future.

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