Following a considerable increase in Cambodia’s milled rice exports in the first four months of the year, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said he was optimistic the Kingdom’s rice exports would reach the 2015 target of one million tonnes.
With this year’s export figures notably higher than those of the same period last year, Prasidh said he believed exports of milled rice would reach more than 300,000 tonnes in the first six months of the year, mostly absorbed by European markets.
“So, I predict it will be at least 500,000 tonnes or [even] 600,000 tonnes [by the end of this year]. And next year, if it is smooth, one million tonnes can [already] be possible or maybe the figure [of one million tonnes] could be reached before 2015,” he said.
He said the rise in exports could be attributed largely to the completion of high-capacity factories and milling machines throughout the country.
In early April, the Ministry of Commerce signed a milled rice export deal with the Philippines, one of the world’s largest milled rice importers. In August of last year, state-owned milled rice exporter Green Trade signed a deal with Indonesian state-owned DULOG to supply 100,000 tonnes of milled rice per year.
Hun Lak, secretary of the Alliance of Rice Producers and Exporters of Cambodia, said he hoped that Prasidh would push the creation of trade policies that would further boost rice exports.
The figures he had seen so far, he added, led him to believe that Cambodia was unlikely to reach half a million tonnes by the end of this year, as exports would decline gradually from April to October.
“I predict milled rice exports will [reach] 350,000 tonnes this year,” he said, adding that even though the export volume would increase considerably in November and December – when harvesting starts – Cambodia’s exports were still slowed by inadequate ports and too few storehouses.
“We need to gather to work together to handle some remaining work if we want to make one million tonnes [happen] by the year of 2015,” he added.
According to data from the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export Formality, Cambodian milled rice exports reached 118,500 tonnes in the first four months of this year compared with 51,466 tonnes in the same period last year.
Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said he doubted export figures would reach those predicted by Prasidh but said they may be close.
“Cambodia could reach its goal, but some factors still influence the Cambodian rice sector, such as capital and the production of paddy rice,” he said.