Cambodia to export crocodile skins to France next month

Cambodia will export 1,000 crocodile skins to France next month in a pilot project that, if successful, will look to increase the sale of skins to the Europe, a local media reported Monday, citing crocodile farmers association representatives.

Sen Rith, deputy president of the Association of Cambodian Crocodile Farm Development to Siem Reap and owner of a crocodile farm in the province, said Cambodian skins were gaining preference with international buyers due to the Kingdom’s record of protecting wild crocodiles and only using farmed crocodiles.

“They are interested to buy crocodile skins from us because our skins are softer,” the Phnom Penh Post quoted him as saying. ” Cambodia has the highest number of wild crocodiles among countries in the region, which reflects that we have done a good job in the protection of wild crocodiles.”

Cambodia currently exports crocodile skins and meat to Vietnam, Thailand and China.

Ung Visal, deputy president of the Angkor Association of Crocodile Feeders in Siem Reap, said he was hopeful about market prospects for Cambodian crocodile farmers, but said they still had a long way to go to catch up to the premium market and were being held back by the lack of capital and farming techniques.

“This time, the buyers (from the EU) are looking for grade C skins, a standard which is not so hard to meet. They offer more than 100 U.S. dollars per skin for grade C. If our skins can be categorized as grade B, then we get 20 percent more and for grade A, we get 50 percent more,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

According to Visal, a few potential farms will be selected to provide skins for the pilot project.

Some 357 crocodile farms are registered with the Fisheries Administration, with around 50,000 baby crocodiles being exported in 2013, the Phnom Penh Post said.

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