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Officials to discuss milled-rice industry

Cambodian officials will attend a meeting of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS) this week to discuss the development of the milled-rice industry with ACMECS members Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, said yesterday Cambodian officials would attend the two-day meeting in Laos on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We will learn from one another about exporting techniques such as marketing, quality control and rice standard preparation, to better access world markets,” Thora told the Post.

“There are many things for Cambodia’s private sector to learn from them, and it would help to attract those countries to invest in Cambodia to boost our rice sector.”

Tikhumporn Natvaratat, deputy director-general of the Thai Foreign Trade Department, was quoted in the Bangkok Post on March 20 saying Thailand and the four other rice-producing countries would meet this week in Laos to discuss setting quality standards for White Rice 5 Per Cent, a grain grown in every member country.

Kim Savuth, president of   the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters, said he welcomed any initiative that would advance Cambodia’s rice sector.

But he said that because of high production costs, it was difficult for Cambodia to compete with its neighbours’ five per cent broken rice.

By contrast, investing in fragrant rice could be more lucrative, Savuth said.

“We are getting stronger to compete in fragrant rice on the world market, as our product is more popular,” he told the Post yesterday.

“We have inherited a great geographical land for fragrant paddy cultivation.

“Farmers should realise that and plant this seed for greater competition in the region.”  

ASEAN countries have previously discussed establishing a federation of rice-producing countries along the lines of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, but Thora said there were no firm plans for such a group.

“They have no plans to form an institution like OPEC yet,” he said.

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