Kampong Speu province in Cambodia will soon be home to a Chinese-funded agricultural special economic zone (SEZ) with facilities to research plant diseases.
Construction of the 300-hectare SEZ is set to begin in the next two months and take two years to complete, said Tian Rui (Cambodia) Agricultural Cooperation SEZ Co chairman Shen Chen, noting that it will include a phyto-sanitation center to research and monitor common plant diseases in Cambodia, the Khmer Times reported on Thursday.
Tian Rui (Cambodia) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Cambodian Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday.
“The first investment capital on the special economic zone will be about $2 billion in developing a 300-hectare site in western Kampong Speu province, where storage facilities, and packaging and processing factories for agricultural products will be built,” he said.
“With this MoU, the firm will start contracting farmers to grow a variety of crops and sell to our company to be processed and then exported.”
He said that mangoes would be the first product the firm would buy from local farmers, but suggested that other fruit and vegetables would also be sought.
He stressed that the venture would also act as a magnet to attract other Chinese agricultural firms to begin operating in Cambodia.
“Our SEZ will attract more and more Chinese enterprises to invest in agriculture processing factories in Cambodia...China has many processing companies and they are waiting for investing in Cambodia, so this cooperation is a good start,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon noted that the nation’s agriculture infrastructure needed more development, as does the modernising of farming practices.
He added that facilities such as the Chinese-funded agricultural SEZ will be a boost to the country’s food processing industry and raise standards through its focus on export-ready quality and sanitation.
“The agriculture sector is the main engine to boost the Cambodian economy. The sector will not be developed smoothly if there is no private sector to support it since the ministry alone cannot push for Cambodian agriculture products to be available widely on the global market,” Sakhon said.