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June launch set for rice processor

KAMPONG Cham province’s Rice Millers Association is expected to put a US$1.7 million rice-processing plant into operation next month with the aim of boosting exports, representatives said Tuesday.

The drying and processing plant in Kampong Cham’s Batheay district, about 60 kilometres from Phnom Penh, is set to produce rice for export into European markets.

It will be able to process 10 tonnes of rice per hour, association officials said.

“We hope that the new plant will help the association to accomplish our goal of exporting rice into European markets later this year,” said Suor Kheang, president of Kampong Cham Rice Millers association.

According to Suor Kheang, the association, representing 32 rice mills, wants to produce about 6,000 tonnes of 5 percent broken rice for export each year. In 2009, around 100,000 tonnes of paddy were reported to have been informally exported from Kampong Cham province by the association to both Vietnam and Thailand.

It is hoped the drying plant can produce rice suitable for export markets in larger amounts, creating jobs and increasing farmers’ incomes.

“I think that our farmers will increase their paddy productivity if their present agricultural product can be processed and exported for higher prices,” he said.

Kampong Cham, which has a total population of nearly 2 million people, produced 759,534 tonnes of paddy in 2009. The plant is being funded, in part, by a $500,000 Rural Development Bank loan and $1 million provided by the Rice Millers Association.

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