Cambodia will start exporting rice later this year to Brunei Darussalam for the first time, according to a deal signed between officials on Saturday in Phnom Penh.
With its first shipment expected in November, the Baitong Rice Export Company and the Federation of Cambodian Rice Millers Association will send 3,000 tonnes of fragrant rice to Brunei, the smallest of the 10-member ASEAN states, with a population of a little more than 400,000.
“The Brunei government, in accordance with a policy to diversify supplies and sources of rice, has agreed to buy some somaly [the Khmer word for fragrant rice] from Cambodia,” said the Brunei director of the Department of Supply and State Stores at the Ministry of Finance, identified as Pg Haji Mohd Noordin Plp Pg Haji Mold. Calling the one-year contract a “trial scheme”, he said on Saturday that the price set was $1,020 per tonne.
The deal’s amount places Brunei among the top 15 importers of Cambodian rice, according to official data. Rice exports have increased 127 per cent to just under 147,000 tonnes in the past five months of this year when compared to the same period in 2012. The output is well on its way to smashing the figure of about 205,000 tonnes for the entire 12 months of last year.
Phou Puy, president of the Baitong Rice Export Company, said the amount sent to Brunei could increase.
“If we have good quality and good marketing, they will buy beyond the actual amount.”