Loran Import-Export Co Ltd, Cambodia’s largest milled-rice exporter, is scheduled to start construction on a new rice mill this month worth more than US$2 million, according to the company’s General Director Lim Bunheng.
The mill will help reduce the flow of Cambodia’s paddy rice into neighbouring countries for processing and push the country closer to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s goal of exporting 1 million tonnes of milled rice by 2015, he said.
“We know that the government is urging further development in the rice sector, so we’re making more investments to boost exports in accordance with government policy,” Lim Bunheng, who also serves as president of the Cambodian Rice Export Association, said.
The rice mill will sit on seven hectares in Battambang’s Thma Koul district, he said.
Capacity once the mill is operational in 2013 is expected to reach 10 tonnes of rice per hour, and about 200,000 tonnes of paddy a year will be pulled from Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pursat provinces.
“When the rice mill is operating, our main target markets will be the US and China,” he said.
Loran, which now runs five other mills, has exported 5,000 tonnes of milled rice so far in 2012, according to Lim Bunheng.
He expects to ship 40,000 tonnes of milled rice by the end of the year.
His company will hold a 40 per cent share of the new mill, he told the Post.
The remaining shares will be controlled by a Cambodian and a Singaporean company, although he declined to name his partners in the venture.
The Kingdom needs as many as 30 large rice mills if it is to meet the 1 million-tonne goal, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Chan Sarun said at an industry forum on April 30. Cambodia at present has only 10 large rice mills.
However, he claimed the number of millers was increasing and in turn the country was on track to meet its 2015 target.
There were 48,753 rice millers in Cambodia in 2011, according to MAFF figures.
At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce put the total amount of milled-rice exports for last year at 170,772 tonnes, reaching $103.9 million.
Meng Saktheara, general director of the General Department of Industry, a division of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, praised the new mill and called it a boost for the area’s economy.
“It creates more jobs for our people,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sieam Bunthy at firstname.lastname@example.org