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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Broken rice from Cambodia affects export

Broken rice from Cambodia affects export

Farmers harvest rice in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district.
Farmers harvest rice in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district. Heng Chivoan

Exports of milled rice had fallen dramatically last year because of the poor quality of paddy rice, insiders said yesterday.

Milled-rice producers told the Post that a large amount of paddy rice broke.

From every 100 kilograms of paddy rice, 20 to 23 kilograms of milled rice were produced, Hun Lak, secretary of the Alliance of Rice Producers and Exporters of Cambodia, said.

Sen Rith, the president of Siem Reap province’s rice millers’ group, confirmed that a harvest of 100 kilograms of paddy rice was processed to slightly more than 20 kilograms last year, compared with 38 to 42 kilograms of milled rice in 2011.

Hun Lak, general director of the milled-rice trading company Mekong Oryza, said some of the harvested paddy rice was too weak and broke, which had led to losses during processing.

Because of those poor results, the Alliance of Rice Producers and Exporters of Cambodia had provided less capital for millers to buy paddy rice, he said.

Hun Lak said the alliance had previously provided about US$3 million in capital to rice-processing members.

“We can’t buy big amounts of broken rice. We would lose a lot of profit,” he said.

Sen Rith said there were not enough workers to harvest paddy rice when the season began late.

As a result, farmers kept paddy rice in the sun and close to the water for many days, lowering the crop’s quality, he said.

“If farmers keep the harvest in the fields too long, the grains become brown and break,” Rith said.

According to the trade and promotion department of the Council for Development of Cambodia, companies exported 205,717 tonnes of rice in 2012, a rise of 1.9 per cent compared with the 201,899 tonnes exported in 2011.

Keth Seng, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry, said during a meeting earlier this month the price of Cambodian rice had dropped about 100 riel a kilogram on average.

Although rice traders cut their prices, the cost of transportation increased last year. In addition, rice-exporting countries such as India sold old stocks of rice, affecting the demand in Cambodia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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