Cambodia to Start Exporting Corn to China

Cambodia is slated to start exporting corn to China with the first company being given the nod after lengthy negotiations, opening up new markets for the Kingdom’s farmers to tap into
A corn seller in Phnom Penh, August 31, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A corn seller in Phnom Penh, August 31, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa

China has given the greenlight for Cambodia to export corn, with HN Outsources Trading and Technology Co.Ltd named as the first company to be registered to ship the crop to China.

According to a Facebook post by the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, the Chinese Administration of Customs has issued a list of companies registered to export Cambodian corn to China on August 27, indicating that Cambodia's corn crop has finished its export procedures and is permitted to ship to China.

This is the second Cambodian agricultural product to be permitted for export to China in 2022. China and Cambodia's practical collaboration has resulted in new successes, it added.

Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told Kiripost that the negotiation of Cambodia's corn crop export to China began in 2011 and was completed in 2014. However, no company was willing to complete the export procedure.

In 2022, the first company submitted a proposal to export corn to China. This restarted negotiations to pave the way for a company intending to export corn to China, he added.

“For this negotiation [recently], we simply need to verify with the registered firm that wants to export, examine the warehouse, and pack before shipment,” he said.

Cambodia has historically produced between 1 million and 1.2 million tons of grain each year. It also has regional markets in Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and other nations, where it exports roughly 200,000 tons annually. As Cambodia’s production chain remains limited, it is not particularly profitable, said Sakhon.

“We cannot compete with huge countries that have thousands of hectares of farmland. They can grow well and produce at a lower cost than or comparable to us,” he said. “However, this [the export] will enhance our production capacity even more, which is beneficial to farmers.”

Chea Sokhy, CEO of HN Outsources Trading and Technology Co.Ltd, said he wants to ship the crop because Cambodia does not have a registered company for exporting corn. Generally, it only has registered companies that export rice as exporting corn to China is a strict process that requires multiple stages.

“Cambodia has the potential to produce high-quality corn for export, but it doesn’t have anyone working on it as they are primarily focused on rice export,” he said. “As I observe that we still lack corn export, I want our country to have another grain export other than rice,” he noted.

“I hope that this is the first step towards other corporations investing in and valuing corn,” he added.

Sokhy said the Chinese market is huge, implying that if corn export is successful, the market has potential to expand. Aside from rice and vegetables, farmers will have more choices for cultivating.

“If it is successful, corn can be a choice for farmers. They will have more choices, and Cambodia's agriculture industry will grow as well,” he said.

Based on his experience, he went through many stages to obtain registration, including working with the ministries of agriculture in Cambodia and China, the Ministry of Commerce, and other relevant ministries. It took more than a year to obtain a licence, he said.

“Their evaluation and standards are very high. So, if we can export to China, we can also export to Europe, Australia, and the United States,” he said. “Therefore, it will expand the corn market.”

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, agricultural exports to foreign markets reached 5,035,425.25 tons (exported to 65 countries) in the first half of 2022, a 13.05 percent increase over the same time in 2021.

About 84,898.90 tons of corn were exported, a 39.65 percent decrease from the same period the previous year. A total of 76,540 tons was exported to Vietnam, 7,500 tons to Thailand, 846.60 tons to Taiwan, and 12.30 tons to Korea.