Plans to ‘export chicken egg’ bananas

20 October 2017 Cambodia

Some consider chicken egg bananas the kingdom’s national fruit. KT/Chor SokuntheaSome consider chicken egg bananas the kingdom’s national fruit. KT/Chor Sokunthea

In a bid to promote local agricultural products, the government has unveiled plans to begin exporting chicken egg bananas to overseas markets.

The announcement comes only two months after the country exported its first international shipment of yellow bananas, which was sent to China.

The chicken egg banana, called “chek pong moan” in Khmer, is also known by its scientific name of “musa aromatic”.

Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture, said on Wednesday: “First, we need to make this fruit one of the top products in the national market, and then we will be able to send it abroad.”

He added that he believes chicken egg bananas are of higher quality and have more flavor than regular yellow bananas.

Mr. Sakhon called on the Royal University of Agriculture to conduct research directed at enhancing the quality and shelf life of the fruit.

“The research at the Royal University of Agriculture would be aimed at improving and promoting agricultural products that have been passed down by our ancestors. One of these products is the chicken egg banana,” Mr Sakhon said.

“Regionally, there is no other banana like this. No one else produces it.”

Mr. Sakhon went into detail regarding the envisioned research, saying the goal would be to increase the amount of water contained in the peel of the banana, a procedure that could delay oxidation.

“We all aware of how quickly the peel can turn black,” Mr. Sakhon said. “International buyers won’t accept this, so we must research methods of delaying the oxidation process and increasing the shelf life of the product.”

Phase one of the project will consist of a budget of $5,000. The ministry will ask development partners in the agriculture and food security sectors to join the programme, Mr. Sakhon said.

Un Sokkhea, a chicken egg banana farmer in Koh Dach commune in Kandal province’s Sa Ang district, welcomed the news, saying farmers will increase output if there is a stable market for the product.

At present, Cambodia exports 300 tonnes a week of yellow bananas, that come from seeds that were originally brought from the Philippines and planted in Mondulkiri province.

The main export markets for Cambodian yellow bananas are China, South Korea, and Australia.