Cambodian Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon speaks during a ceremony marking the first shipment of Cambodia's fresh mangoes to China in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 7, 2021. Cambodia on Friday exported its first batch of fresh mangoes directly to China as part of increased agricultural cooperation between the two countries. (Xinhua/Ly Lay)
PHNOM PENH, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Friday exported its first batch of fresh mangoes directly to China as part of increased agricultural cooperation between the two countries.
Cambodian Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian witnessed a ceremony held here marking the first shipment of Cambodian fresh mangoes to China.
The fresh mangoes totaled 80 tons and were loaded in six containers.
For the first time, fresh mangoes are being shipped directly to China from Cambodia, Sakhon said, adding that it marked another milestone in agricultural cooperation between the two countries.
"It will not only contribute to boosting Cambodia's economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also help reduce poverty in rural areas," he said.
The minister said the export came after both countries signed in June last year a protocol on phytosanitary requirements that paved the way for the export of fresh mangoes from Cambodia to China.
Late last month, the General Administration of Customs of China certified the first 37 mango orchards and five packaging plants to export Cambodian fresh mangoes to China, he said.
"Fresh mango is Cambodia's second fresh fruit to gain official access to the Chinese market directly after banana," Sakhon said. "This is a new achievement that was born of the excellent cooperation between Cambodia and China."
He said Cambodia has nearly 132,000 hectares of mango trees, yielding around 1.38 million tons of fresh mangoes annually.
Wang, who participated in the event via video conference, said the growing agricultural cooperation would undoubtedly contribute to building a community of shared future for China and Cambodia.
"This is another substantive achievement of China-Cambodia pragmatic cooperation during the pandemic, and it will greatly promote China-Cambodia cooperation in the agricultural field," he said.
Since the successful export of Cambodian yellow bananas to China in May 2019, the Cambodian banana industry has enjoyed a leapfrog development, Wang said.
"As China opens the mango market for Cambodia, I believe that the Cambodian mango industry will also grow like the banana industry," he said. "It will provide more employment opportunities for Cambodian farmers, increase farmers' income and living standards, and benefit the people of both countries."
Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's undersecretary of state and spokesman Penn Sovicheat said the first direct export of Cambodian fresh mangoes to China marked a significant breakthrough in gaining access to a huge market for Cambodian fresh fruits.
"We are proudly expecting prosperity of this business in the long run, and this milestone also helps us to achieve our goal in diversifying our agricultural products for export purposes to the world market as well," he said.
Cambodia remains a sustainable source of agricultural products to the Chinese market, Sovicheat said, adding that the kingdom is ready to provide quality products such as fruits, rice and other agricultural food stuffs to meet the Chinese market's demand.
"During the period of this pandemic, we appreciate the good gesture of the Chinese government, who always provides good cooperation and strong support for Cambodia, both in humanitarian and economic aspects," the spokesman said. Enditem