September 20, 2011

Dutch start export line with Asian vegetables and herbs from Cambodia


The Dutch company 'Herbs and Vegetables' is starting an export line for Asia vegetables and herbs from Cambodia to Europe, and mainly to the Dutch, Belgian and possibly the French market. "Because Cambodia doesn't have an export market for these products, we've spent time organising the production and logistics. Now the moment has come to ship the first loads", says David de Rijke.

"Various reasons were decisive in picking Cambodia. First of all it turned out that Cambodia gets 40% of its vegetables and herbs from Thailand, so the market necessary to supply the local market is there. The export market for Asian vegetables and herbs is therefore limited and we see a chance to produce, package and market for the local and the international market", says David.

 "The problems around the import of various vegetables and herbs from Thailand, with an impending import ban by the EU and the export ban by the Thai government, have also played a part. We started the plan to look at the alternatives in the region this year, to be able to supply the demand for the local product. Inquiries at the Dutch embassy in Bangkok show that only two Thai exports are officially allowed to export", says David.

Herbs and Vegetables is located in Siem Reap and the co-partners in the company are the founder of Triple F (Mr. Rasy) and the former director of the provincial department of the ministry of agriculture, forestry and fishing in Siem Reap (Mr. Tat). "Triple F is an association of growers and buyers and all products are bought only from them", David explains. "It is grown by around 100 small growers who are all situated in the area around Siem Reap. In coming years a similar association shall be established around the capitol Phnom Penh."

The producers can become members of Triple F, as long as the stick to several codes of conduct. The most important are that they can't use chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides and only use the Herbs and Vegetables/Triple F seed for cultivation. This is met by a guaranteed higher price than the average Cambodian market price and an weekly advance on their to produce goods.

"We have strict rules. If a growers doesn't stick to them, they get thrown out of the association", says David. "This combination gives security and raising the growers and their families living standards in one of the poorest countries in Asia. Because no pesticides and chemical fertilizer can be used - everything is done naturally and traditionally - no impact is made on the environment, the growers health and the consumer. Everyone concerned, from the cultivation to the sales, are trained by an ISO-certifying company to work according to ISO standards and it's the plan to work towards GlobalGap.

At the moment 'Herbs and Vegetables' is focussing on these products: coriander, culantro, mint leaves, holy brasil, lemon brasil, morning glory, sweet basil, lemon grass, chili, bird's eye chili, yard long bean, banana leaves, acacia leaf, bitter ground, lotus rootlet, pea eggplant, pepper corn, winged bean, turmeric, round eggplant.

David and his companion aren't yet experienced in the fruit and vegetable trade. "We do have an agrarian background and have experience in trade in Asia (Thailand, Cambodia and Laos), Europe and Logistics. We also have our ideas about innovative ways of packaging and the way of undertaking, considering all chain partners.

In the last few years foreign countries are investing a lot in Cambodia and there is a wider offer in air transport which means the possibilities to transport perishable have increased", says the exporter. "Our starting point is to organise the entire chain in a way that all goods meet all quality demands so that there are no unnecessary delays in the logistics process. This should result in healthy returns for all partners in the chain!"

For more information:
Herbs and Vegetables
National Road No.6,
Teukvil Station,
Siem Reap District & City

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