Cam McGrath and Cheng Sokhorng
The Phnom Penh Post, Wed, 23 November 2016
A local subsidiary of a South Korean confectionary giant is investing $40 million to develop what it claims will be the world’s largest pepper plantation on a sprawling 1,000-hectare estate in eastern Cambodia, a company executive said yesterday.
Welt Bio Co Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sam Kwang Food, has already planted pepper on 120 hectares of a 350-hectare plot in Mondulkiri province, and will cultivate the remainder of the plot next year.
Sister company Brise Bio Co Ltd recently purchased the adjacent 650 hectares of land that Welt Bio is preparing for cultivation.
Hojin Yi, director of Welt Bio, said the company was watching commodity spot prices closely, and projections would determine what crop eventually gets planted.
“We will plant pepper or maybe coffee on this land,” he said. “But right now, pepper is still more profitable.”
Welt Bio has also planted pepper on 35 hectares in Tboung Khmum province’s Memot district, with the first harvest expected sometime next year.
According to Yi, the company will produce about 20,000 tonnes of pepper – or about 5 percent of global production – once the full 1,000 hectares under cultivation is ready for harvest sometime around 2020.
Sam Kwang Food has earmarked $40 million for its Cambodian pepper project, with construction of a 4,200-square-metre processing factory at the Mondulkiri site expected to begin early next year. (more…)