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Cambodia will not export rice to Philippines

120718_07
Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh speaks in Phnom Penh last year. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

After the Philippines government issued their own policy regarding milled rice exports the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia has expressed its disinterest in exporting milled rice to its neighbour, Cambodia’s Commerce Minister said yesterday.

Local rice millers will not be encouraged to make any efforts to export milled rice to the Philippines, said Cham Prasidh, the Minister of Commerce for Cambodia.

“We have no interest in the Philippines market any more as their government has issued a new policy that by 2013 the country should be able meet its own supply requirements for milled rice and may even export some starting next year. We do not need to rely on the Philippines — there are other markets”, he said during a meeting at the National Assembly yesterday.

At the same time, Cham Prasidh urged members of the Federation of Cambodian Associations of Rice Exporters to look other markets in the region.

“Now, we will look at Indonesia even though they are producing a lot of milled rice. There could still be a shortage. I plan on signing a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian trade minister next month during the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ meeting.”

The deal will be for 100,000 tonnes of milled rice, according to Chairman of the Federation of Cambodian Associations of Rice Exporters Kim Savuth, who agreed with Cham Psaidh’s claims and said the Philippines market is a bit difficult for private rice milling companies to work in.

“Of course, I think it is good idea because we should not waste time and we won’t have to now that their government has announced that they can produce enough milled rice to meet their own demand by 2013,” he said.

He said he had conducted an export feasibility study on the market since 2000 and that Cambodia was close to exporting milled rice to the Philippines though for it to happen a bilateral agreement needed to be made between the two governments.

“We were very close to exporting to the Philippines over the last few years but after we saw the conditions for payment, which were quite late, we decided to look for other markets to enter,” he said.

Kim Savuth said that Indonesia, Malaysia and China, among others in the region, have a lot of potential with Cambodia’s white rice, while the European and Russian markets are still good places for fragrant rice exports.

Cambodia’s total exports of milled rice dropped about 35 per cent for the first half of 2012 to 78,000 tonnes compared to 120,000 tonnes for the same period in 2011– a decrease of 40,000 tonnes, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture supplied yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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