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Cambodian banana exports increased nearly 30 per cent in 2021 with demand from China fuelling industry growth.

According to a report from The Phnom Penh Post, end-of-year data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) shows Cambodia exported 423,168 tonnes of fresh bananas in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent.

China was the destination for the vast majority of Cambodia’s bananas, importing 376,961 tonnes. Vietnam was the second largest market at 45,193.37 tonnes in front of Japan 533 tonnes and Singapore 480 tonnes.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said demand in China was powering export growth and raised considerable interest from investors. The main obstacle to the further expansion of production was water availability.

“We’ve been seeking out suitable lands to grow bananas, to expand the cultivation area, which would allow us to export millions of tonnes to China someday,” Sakhon said.

Longmate Agriculture director Hun Lak told The Post that the China trade with Cambodia had not been as affected by Covid-19 compared with other major banana suppliers such as Vietnam.

“Any impact on agricultural exports from Vietnam to China due to the re-emergence of Covid-19 – which led to closures along the Sino-Vietnamese border some time ago – does not really have a bearing on Cambodia,” said Lak.

“And that’s chiefly because the number of bananas shipped through Vietnam is quite small – exports to China are sent directly, via Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh ports.”