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NEWS UPDATES 3 August 2010

Cambodian rice exports jump

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EXPORTS of Cambodian milled rice surged 2,360 percent in the first six months of 2010 compared to 2009, after the government encouraged production of Cambodia’s “white gold”.

The government has spearheaded a raft of measures aimed at boosting the country’s rice-export capacity in the first half of this year.

Officials updated the national rice policy, doubled Rural Development Bank capital to US$36 million and scrapped licence requirements for exporters to spur development.

The government hopes to improve the quality of Cambodia’s rice to increase exports to foreign markets, such as Europe. The measures so far appear to have had a marked effect.

Data released by the Ministry of Commerce showed that just 4,369 tonnes of milled rice was exported from January to June 2009.

But in the first half of this year, the Kingdom sent 107,291 tonnes of milled rice abroad – an increase of 2,356 percent. Exports were worth $13.438 million this half, up from $2.193 million in 2009.

Cambodian officials have welcomed the increase.

President of the Cambodian Rice Millers’ Association, Phou Puy, hailed the figures as a beginning for Cambodia to produce high-quality rice in line with neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.

But he warned challenges were still ahead as companies sought footholds internationally.

“We don’t know clearly about the market so we have to look for [buyers] and sell at lower prices to get the market share,” he said. “Next year will be the time to export as much as we can.”

A secretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, Chan Tong Ive, said that an open agricultural policy had changed business patterns for some farmers, who had shifted into intensive farming that upped yields.


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