Cambodia’s eastern border is rich in basaltic red soil that sustains large rubber plantations in Tboung Khmum, Kampong Cham, Kratie, or Ratanakkiri. It is not unusual to have a rubber plantation run along national roads for kilometers, with some of these estates dating back to the French colonial period.
The clay loam also supports the cultivation of bananas. And in Tboung Khmum’s O’Reang Euv district there is a small banana plantation surrounded by decades-old rubber trees. Chinese national Chen Zhiqang rides his motorcycle through the seemingly infinite rows of rubber trees to reach the 200-hectare banana plantation.
Chen Zhiqang arrived in Cambodia in 2016 to partner with prominent tycoon An Mady to carve out the banana plantation from the latter’s 3,600-hectare rubber plantation, which was granted as an economic land concession in 2008, according to government records.