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Cambodia-Vietnam JV targets rice exports

CAVFOOD, a joint venture between Cambodian and Vietnamese companies, launched the first phase of its US$8 million rice mill in Phnom Penh on Friday.

The venture is an investment by Cambodian state-owned rice exporter Green Trade and Vietnam’s VNA Food 2 and Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia (BIDC).

Located in the Russey Keo district, it is expected to process eight to 10 tonnes of milled rice an hour.

The second phase of the mill, in which a second milling machine will begin operations, is expected to launch in May.

Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said on Friday at the opening ceremony that the rice mill put Cambodia a step closer to reaching its rice export goals.

“It is a contribution in accordance with the implementation of policy to reach more than four million tonnes of rice production and one million tonnes of [milled] rice to be exported in 2015, which can bring international recognition to Cambodia’s rice,” he said.

CAVFOOD director Don Anh Sang said the company’s intention was to make Cambodia one of the leading rice-exporting countries in Southeast Asia, adding that other ASEAN markets, Europe and the United States were all target markets.  

The company would export 225,000 tonnes of rice in 2015, he said, or about a quarter of Cambodia’s million-tonne goal.

Others, however, said a number of hurdles still stood in the way of the Kingdom reaching that goal.

BIDC director Tran Bac Ha, who also serves as president of the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Cambodia, said the high price of Cambodian rice was an impediment to the country competing in global markets.

To export a million tonnes of milled rice, the Kingdom would need to decrease electricity and transportation costs, as well as streamline the bureaucracy involved with the export process, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sieam Bunthy at sieam.bunthy@phnompenhpost.com

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