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Fruit bound for China

Cambodia sees rise of banana plantations

Cambodia’s eastern border has many large rubber plantations at Tboung Khmum, Kampong Cham, Kratie, or Ratanakkiri. But the soil there also supports the cultivation of bananas.

Chen Zhiqang arrived in Cambodia in 2016 to partner with prominent tycoon An Mady to carve out the banana plantation from the latter’s 3,600-hectare rubber plantation, which was granted as an economic land concession in 2008. Mature rubber trees were cut down to make way for the banana production facility, said Chen Zhiqang, to feed China’s high demand for the fruit.

“Bananas are under-supplied in China currently,” said Chen Zhiqang. “Chinese people like consuming bananas [so much] that I had to come to a foreign country like Cambodia to invest in this farm and export it back to China.”

The plantation will likely be in line to take advantage of a recent free trade agreement recently penned by Cambodia and China. The agreement will be signed in the next few weeks and will have zero tariffs on 95 percent of 340 approved products, including fruits.

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