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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Russia and Poland look to Cambodia for rice

Russia and Poland look to Cambodia for rice

A CAMBODIAN trade delegation to Russia and Poland has attracted buyers to discuss deals that could see 40,000 tonnes of rice exported to the two countries in 2011.

Composed of government officials and industry representatives, the Cambodian delegation visited the two nations in September, leading to further discussions planned for January to finalise the deal, according to Thon Virak, director general of state-run Green Trade Company.

“If there are no obstacles, we will make the contract for delivery at that time,” he said at a Ministry of Commerce press conference on Friday. The buyers from Russia and Poland are expected to order at least 4,000 tonnes per month, he said.

“I hope the number of rice export to Europe market will increase in the coming year, and we have enough quantity for exports,” he said.

Representatives of nine rice millers, including two private companies; and four government representatives from the Ministry of Commerce visited Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland from September 22 to 24 in search of opportunities for rice exports.

The visit also allowed industry insiders to meet with European rice traders and distributors to learn more about the regulations and quality standards required to access the European market, he said.

The delegation found that trust and reliability was the most important issue for European buyers, especially with regard to filling deliveries on schedule. Ensuring quality standards and competitive pricing were also primary concerns for European dealers.

“Before the visit to Europe we had no real idea of what the market required, but now after seeing it with our own eyes and talking directly to the buyers we know what EU consumers want,” Norng Veasna, a rice miller from Kampong Cham province said in a statement.

Lim Bun Heng, a representative from Loran Import Export, added that local rice millers need to improve processing technology to become more competitive regarding both quality and quantity.

Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce said improving milling capacity would greatly boost future exports.

Local millers are able to process a maximum of 100,000 tonnes per year at present, he said. If milling capacity was not improved, it would be difficult to meet the Kingdom’s goals for rice exports.

Many donors are funding developments in the agriculture sector. Agence Francaise Development had allocated between $10 million and $15 million for the local millers to improve capacity, but more was needed, Mao Thora said.

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