Amru Rice (Cambodia), one of the Kingdom’s leading millers and exporters of the commodity, plans to expand exports of premium rice into the US, in response to high demand from the residents of Long Beach, California.

Amru CEO Song Saran is currently attending a trade expo in the US. He told The Post that following the company’s first 40 tonne shipment to the US in early January, more and more people were becoming aware of the high quality of Cambodia’s premium organic and jasmine rice varieties. 

He explained that his firm supplies rice to Shun Fat Supermarkets in the Long Beach area of Los Angeles, where demand is high for quality rice, due to the presence of numerous Asian ethnic groups.

“We plan to expand our exports into the US. We plan to expand to as much as 5,000 tonnes. I have received widespread support from people here, and hope that this will translate into increased sales of organic and aromatic jasmine rice,” he said.

“We also appreciate the support we have received from the Cambodian consulate here in Long Beach. We have invited many of the largest US buyers to visit the Kingdom and learn more about the potential of the agriculture sector,” he added.

Chan Sokheang, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) – the nation’s apex rice industry body – explained that while the Kingdom has previously shipped luxury rice to the US, the shipments were generally small.

He noted that Amru has recently begun exporting to the substantial Asian market in California, with the assistance of the consulate general and chamber of commerce representatives in the region to facilitate the export process.

“It’s a matter of national pride for the rice sector that we are expanding exports to the US. I would like to highlight that the US market for fragrant rice is substantial. They import approximately 600,000 tonnes of it from Thailand annually. Therefore, the US represents a potential major market for us,” he said.

“As a new market, it will require increasingly extensive marketing and promotional activities. Moreover, it’s essential for us to understand the actual needs and the legal terms of imports in the region.

“The CRF is extremely proud of the results of our efforts in the US market thus far and we are hopeful that more exporters will join to increase exports to the market,” he added.

According to data from the CRF – some 656,323 tonnes of milled rice were exported to international markets in 2023, marking a 3% increase over 2022. The exports generated $466 million in revenue, a 13% rise from the previous year. Cambodian milled rice reached 61 countries and territories through 63 exporters.

Exports of milled rice to mainland China and its Hong Kong Autonomous Region totalled 212,756 tonnes, valued at $138 million.

In Europe, across 26 countries, exports amounted to 264,683 tonnes, equivalent to $191 million. Seven ASEAN member countries received 93,376 tonnes, valued at $62 million. Exports to various destinations in the Middle East, encompassing 26 countries, totalled 85,508 tonnes, worth $76 million, as per CRF data.

In addition to milled rice, Cambodia also exported 4,387,363 tonnes of paddy rice, valued at approximately $1.32 billion. Of this, 64% was exported with certification from the relevant authorities. Paddy rice exports saw an increase of around 26.5% and their value rose by approximately 56.69% compared to 2022.