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Cambodia ready for rice bid

Combine harvesters work on a rice paddy in Takeo province last week
Combine harvesters work on a rice paddy in Takeo province last week. Hong Menea

Cambodia ready for rice bid

Cambodia will join the bidding for the Philippine government’s latest rice import offer, a senior rice industry official says.

The Philippine government’s National Food Authority (NFA) last week authorised the import of 500,000 tonnes of rice to the country.

The bidding process, which is looking for the best-priced and best-quality rice, is open to all countries. A decision will be made on August 27.

The offer was reportedly made as an emergency effort to replenish the country’s rice crops. Recent severe weather has damaged the crops and driven up prices in the local market, Philippine reports said.

Thon Virak, chairman and director-general of Green Trade, a Cambodian state-owned milled-rice exporter, said the Kingdom is ready to make a bid this time, after missing out on a similar tender by the Philippine government last year due to a shortage of able exporters.

“This is the second time the Philippines has invited Cambodia to the bidding,” Virak said.

“We missed previous bidding because we did not have a united exporter group yet to transport the huge load. But now we have one, we are ready,” he said, referring to the recently founded Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), which united the country’s rice exporter community in one organisation.

“I do not work alone. We are working together in the group now.”

Virak, however, admitted that Cambodia’s high transportation and shipping costs could hamper the country’s chances of landing the deal.

“It will be hard for us to give lower quotes than Vietnam. Nevertheless, this is an important step for us. I have discussed with CRF about reducing transport costs to see what we can do about it.”

CRF president Sok Puthyvuth could not be reached for comment.

Kim Savuth, president of Khmer Food, the country’s biggest rice exporter, said yesterday that the bid is an exciting opportunity for exporters in Cambodia to capture a new market.

“We have enough rice to join the bidding. On whether any of the Cambodian exporters will win the bid, I am not sure,” Savuth said.

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