Vietnam Firm Launches Dairy Plant, Lacks Cows

A new $23 million dairy factory that the owners claim is the first such facility in the country opened in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.

Angkor Dairy Products Company Limited, a joint venture between Vietnamese dairy giant Vinamilk and Cambodia’s BPC Trading, will produce milk, condensed milk and yogurt under the brand “Angkormilk” at the factory in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone.

Angkormilk director and BPC chairman Phat Bun said the company would initially be forced to make its products from milk powder imported from the E.U. and U.S. after failing to secure a local source of suitable fresh milk.

“We also planned to raise cows before running the factory, but we couldn’t find suitable land in Kratie, Ratanakkiri and Mondolkiri [provinces],” he said, adding that they would encourage farmers within 100 km of the factory to raise dairy cows, seeking up to 1,000 animals to supply the factory.

He said the facility, which stretches across three hectares, would employ about 250 Cambodians, as well as 20 technical advisers from Vietnam.

Though the company was primarily focusing on the domestic market, Mr. Bun said it would also be eyeing export markets in Burma, India, Bangladesh, Russia and the Middle East.

It expects to initially produce 19 million liters of liquid milk, 64 million cups of yogurt and 80 million tons of sweetened condensed milk annually, according to a press release distributed at on Wednesday’s opening.

Mai Hoai Anh, Angkormilk chairman, said that as a domestic producer, the company would enjoy significant advantages over rivals reliant on imports.

“The import tax and long distance transportation cost will be minimized, which will help make the price of Angkormilk to be more affordable for Cambodians,” he said in an interview at the event.

He said that Vinamilk, which has exported milk to Cambodia since the early 2000s, already had 13 factories in Vietnam and was looking to use its position as a market leader there to expand production into regional markets, starting with Cambodia.

Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, speaking at the event, praised the opening of the factory as a sign of the development of a higher technical level of production in Cambodia.

“This factory will provide a lot of benefits to Cambodia, such as strengthening the local production base, reducing imports of dairy milk from foreign countries and helping develop industrial and economic sectors of Cambodia,” she said.

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