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Cambodian Banana Exports Dip 21% as Industry Blames Climate Change

January 13, 2024

According to the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Southeast Asian country exported approximately 290,000 metric tons of fresh bananas in 2023, a decrease of over 21% from the previous year.

Industry insiders have reported that climate change had a significant impact on last year’s harvest and that lower yields, rather than a drop in consumer demand, were responsible for the decline in exports. Weather events such as El Niño led to a water deficit, causing a depletion in soil moisture levels and numerous pest issues, making the use of existing pesticides less efficient.

Hun Lak, CEO of Longmate Agriculture Co. Ltd., which operates banana plantations and focuses on exports to China, told the Phnom Penh Post that consumer demand remained robust last year, with shipping costs being reasonable and market prices relatively good. According to Hun, climate change caused banana farmers, particularly those with large plantations, to face technical difficulties in applying agricultural inputs.

In response to the recent issues, the ministry’s spokesperson Im Rachna stated that all professional units, especially provincial agriculture departments, had been urged to provide prompt interventions aimed at minimizing the impact of pests and diseases on various crops, including bananas.

In July of last year, Im stated that, aside from the effects of climate change, a number of other factors such as market instability and unrecorded exports to Vietnam and Thailand could have an impact on the export volumes and statistical data.

China remains the largest market for Cambodian bananas, absorbing over 90% of exports each year. A similar downward trend in exports was observed in 2022, when, as a result of the pandemic and associated trade challenges, Cambodian banana shipments to China fell by 12% during the first 10 months of the year. Despite this reduction in exports, Cambodia ranked as China’s third-largest banana supplier in 2022 after the Philippines and Vietnam. Cambodian bananas were granted China market access in 2019, with a special type of yellow banana that can withstand lengthy transit and storage for up to two months being supplied to the Chinese market.

Image: Pixabay

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.


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