Japan-bound Khmer Palm Oil Set For Next Year

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A proposed deal between a Japanese company and a local agricultural conglomerate will result in the first shipment of Cambodian palm oil to the Japanese market sometime next year.

A tractor drives by an oil palm plantation in Cambodia. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Mong Reththy, the owner of the Mong Reththy Group, told Khmer Times yesterday that the investment branch of his company – Mong Reththy Investment Cambodia Oil Palm Co Ltd – was now negotiating with a Japanese company interested in buying crude palm oil, although he failed to provide a name for the prospective buyer.

“A group of young Japanese businesspeople visited us very recently and they wanted to buy my crude palm oil after they saw that the quality met their standards,” said Mr Reththy.

“They will buy at market price and we can sell them as much as we are able produce. They didn’t set a limit because they say their main goal is to give work to Cambodian people,” he said.

Mong Reththy Investment Cambodia Oil Palm is one of the largest locally-owned investment companies specialising in palm oil. The company owns 16,000 hectares of plantations in Sihanoukville province.

Mr Reththy said that on top of supplying the local market, they export to Malaysia as well as to the European market, and added that the new deal will be an excellent opportunity to expand into a new and lucrative market.

Hean Vanhan, the director-general of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), welcomed the news of the negotiations, but asked the company to painstakingly study the new market and its export requirements before going ahead with shipments.

“We urge the companies to work together and study in detail the requirements imposed by the Japanese government. We’ve seen too many companies fail because they just didn’t know key export requirements,” he said.

The price of crude palm oil has plummeted in recent years, jeopardising the livelihoods of many local producers.

Mr Reththy said the new deal could be the first of many such purchasing agreements between Cambodian and Japanese enterprises, particularly if the price of palm oil bounces back up.

“This deal is great news for the industry. We can expect more and more Japanese investment to keep pouring into the country.”

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.