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BVB set to start building rice-milling plant

CONSTRUCTION of a new US$10 million rice mill and paddy-drying facility in Kampong Thom province could start in just two weeks, BVB Investment Company said Monday.

Duong Vibol, BVB president, said the new plant will be able to process 30 tonnes of rice per hour for export.

The production centre is being built on 10 hectares of land in Srayeuv commune, Stueng Saen town, he added.

“We will turn Kampong Thom province into a place which can produce standardised rice for export from next year,” he said.

According to BVB’s plan, the firm will export its first shipments to Europe in 2011. It wants to export 10,000 tonnes of grain in the first year, rising to up to 100,000 tonnes three years later.

The company has already built a storehouse, a paddy-drying machine and a farmhouse beside a 2,000-hectare paddy field. It also intends to provide local farmers with seed to grow rice for export, according to Duong Vibol.

Sun Kunthor, chairman of the Rural Development Bank, which lent BVB $3 million last month, said Monday that the company will be able to export, but warned it must buy enough rice for processing.

“It needs to increase its capital to buy paddy. Its existing capital is not enough,” he added.

On Monday, BVB refused to give details of the amount of capital it has for acquiring paddy, citing confidentiality and competition in the market.

Since 2008, Cambodia has had a yearly paddy surplus of 3.2 million tonnes. But the Kingdom has been able to export only small quantities of rice because it lacks modern processing machines to produce quality product.

Battambang province’s Baitang Co has spent $7.8 million building an international-standard rice mill able to process 720 tonnes of rice per day. It will open Wednesday. Cambodia’s only other standardised rice mill belongs to Green Trade Co.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the nation could have the potential to export more rice than Vietnam, but that at present it does not have the adequate irrigation systems and water supplies to produce enough rice.

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