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Cambodian rice millers to boost exports

130205 07
A worker in a rice factory in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Rice millers and exporters are optimistic that they will see an increase in exports this year after they received higher orders toward the end of 2012, producers said yesterday.

Toch Tepech, president of the Svay Rieng Rice Millers Association, told the Post he had exported over 1,000 tonnes, mainly fragrant rice, to world markets last year. Most of the exports went to Europe.

“This year, I believe exports from my rice mill will increase 100 per cent because there was lower export last year,” he said. So far, he has already received numerous orders in 2013, he added.  

“[Buyers] order a lot, and they demand us to sign a one-year contract. But we don’t dare accept this because they demand our fragrant malis rice [jasmine rice], and we are only able to stock this kind of rice in the early season.”

The demand for milled rice may have increased, but the price has remained the same as last year. One tonne of fragrant rice costs about $890 to $900, he said.

Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture showed that Cambodia exported 205,717 tonnes of milled rice in late 2012, an increase of 1.9 per cent compared with the 201,899 tonnes in 2011.

According to the data, milled rice was exported to 58 countries, most of them in Europe. France was the number one importer, with 47,217 tonnes, Poland was second with 34,967 tonnes and Malaysia third with 25,553 tonnes.

Kim Savuth, chairman of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters and president of milled rice exporter Khmer Food, said he planned to export about 50,000 tonnes in 2013.

However, in the previous year, the company’s exports performed below expectations.

About 10,000 tonnes less than the targeted 40,000 tonnes were exported because of a delay in the installation of the processing equipment.

According to Savuth, however, the main obstacle this year will be a lack of transport.

“In January we had a transport crisis. Some transport companies confirmed they will be too busy to use during the Lunar New Year because they are importing from China,” he said.

Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, said he could not confirm predicted rice-export trends for this year.

He would meet with milled rice exporters after Lunar New Year to analyse the market situation, he said.

 

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

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