PHNOM PENH, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia and Green Leader (Cambodia) Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China's Hong Kong-based Green Leader Holdings Group, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of cassava here on Monday.
The MoU was inked between Veng Sakhon, Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, and Zhang Sanhuo, chairman of Green Leader Holdings Group, under the presence of Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly, chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development.
Under the deal, the two sides would work together to set up a Research and Development Center that would focus on selecting cassava species with high output, applying right techniques for cassava planting, and preventing cassava diseases.
Also, the ministry would help find proper locations for the company to build cassava processing factories and encourage farmers to grow cassava to supply the factories under the contract-farming basis.
Speaking before the signing ceremony, Chhay Ly said the cooperation would greatly contribute to the development of cassava sector in Cambodia.
"I welcome the memorandum of understanding between the ministry and the company, and I would like to encourage the company to start to build its first factory in Cambodia as soon as possible," he said.
Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, Sakhon said the Southeast Asian country has about 700,000 hectares of cassava plantations, which yield about 14 million tons of cassava tubers each year.
He said Cambodia currently has four cassava factories processing about 10 percent of the annual output, as the remaining 90 percent of the output has been exported to Thailand and Vietnam.
Michael Tse, chief executive officer of Green Leader Holdings Group, said the firm has planned to build 20 cassava processing plants in Cambodian provinces in five years.
The firm would start to construct its first factory in southeastern Tboung Khmum province, and second and third factories in eastern Kratie province and northwestern Stung Treng province, respectively in 2018, he said.
"Each factory will be capable of processing 100,000 tons of cassava starch a year, and the cassava starch will be exported to China, European countries, the United States, South Korea and Japan," he told reporters.