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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Amru nearing organic rice deal with the US

Amru nearing organic rice deal with the US

Local rice exporter Amru Rice is close to signing an agreement with an American importer to bring Cambodian organic rice to the American market, according to the rice exporter’s chief executive.

Amru Rice CEO Song Saran told the Post yesterday that after analysing the US market, his company had decided to tap into the potentially vast source of customers.

“We observed that more Americans are consuming organic, chemical-free rice, so that’s why we’re trying to promote our rice there and obtain a larger market share,” he said.

“We are preparing to sign an agreement with an importer to promote our brand of organic rice to the retail market and reach real consumers.”

However, Saran declined to reveal the name of the American company he was dealing with due to ongoing talks.

He said that plans would be finalised in June with Cambodian rice hitting the shelves in September.

Amru has already tested the market by exporting a small amount of unbranded organic rice. “Before we just sold some unpackaged organic rice, so the consumers didn’t know it was made in Cambodia. Now, we want to promote our brand,” said Saran.

David Van, senior adviser to the Cambodia Rice Federation, said there was potential for the country’s organic rice in the US.

“Amru has been working on exploring this market since last year, not only recently,” he said.

“They’re already exporting Preah Vihear organic jasmine [rice] to the US, drawing better margins than others who export regular jasmine [rice],” he explained.

In September last year, Amru Rice signed a deal with eight farmer cooperatives in Preah Vihear province to purchase 2,500 tonnes of organic fragrant paddy rice.

Fong Ngai, director of the Hong Kong Trade Office in Singapore, said Cambodian rice was known to be of good quality compared to others.

“Cambodian organic rice is really good, as Hong Kong’s consumers prefer organic products. However, the price is a bit higher than [rice from] Thailand.”

Cambodia’s primary organic rice exporter, the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, known as CEDAC, shipped 540 tonnes of fragrant organic rice to international markets last year, an increase 20 per cent compared to 2013. The rice exporter is aiming to export 1,000 tonnes in 2015.

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