Cambodia is expected to participate in an Iraqi bid for 30,000 tonnes of milled rice this month, a local rice exporter confirmed yesterday.
The Iraqi government has invited international tenders from Cambodia, Uruguay, Brazil, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Thailand and the US, according to Thai rice news website Oryza. The last day for submitting bids falls on April 26.
Son Saran, CEO and chairman of Amru Rice Cambodia, a joint venture with Korean business conglomerate Hanwha, said Amru already has a contract with a private Iraqi company to supply 1,000 tonnes of rice a year.
However, he said winning even part of the 30,000-tonne tender would require much more preparation as the deadline approaches.
“Now, we are working to join the bidding before the deadline, but we want to lobby them [for us] to supply only around 3,000 tonnes a year,” he said.
Saran said Iraq needs to import over half a million tonnes of rice per year to satisfy domestic demand.
“If we can get it, it will be a good destination for us as the price is also good,” he said, declining to disclose the price due to the bidding process.
But according to David Van, senior adviser to the Cambodia Rice Federation, local exporters still face challenges in terms of their capacity.
“I don’t think Cambodian exporters have the sophisticated skills to ensure all due risks management by selling to such a country,” Van said.
“Nonetheless, there may be some brave Cambodian exporters out there who would give it a try.”
Cambodia exported 207 tonnes of milled rice to Iraq over the first quarter of 2015, while it shipped around 828 tonnes in all of last year, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture.