Cambodia plans to export rice to African markets through South Korean companies, as its EU market share showed signs of drop in the first half of this year.
In addition to the Chinese market, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) expects exports to Africa to help fill the EU market share, said its secretary-general Moul Sarith.
The CRF met George Kim J H, the CEO of South Korean manufacturer JS Global Corporation and many other South Korean government small- and medium-enterprise agents on Wednesday to explore opportunities to export Cambodian rice to African markets.
Sarith told The Post that JS Global Corporation expressed its interest in investing in rice exports from Cambodia to Africa.
He says Korean companies will only buy pure white rice from the Kingdom to meet market demand in Africa.
“Rice [exports] to Africa does not need to be expensive. Africa just needs white rice. I think we’ll find a country that needs lower grades of rice. The living standards of many Africans are still low and they need affordable rice,” he said.
Cambodia’s rice exports in the first half of this year were 281,538 tonnes – up 3.7 per cent year-on-year. Of these 118,401 tonnes (42.06 per cent) went to China. Only 93,503 tonnes (33.21 per cent) went to Europe, said a report from the Secretariat of the One Window Service for Rice Exports for Formality.
“If we can further expand the market, our exports will increase. Rice exports to Africa can help further boost our exports,” said Sarith.
Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd vice-president Kann Kunthy said his company welcomes JS Global Corporation but said he is worried that Cambodian white rice will not be able to compete with that of Vietnam or Thailand.
“We support new markets, but the main issue is that our white rice cannot compete in terms of price."
“Exports to Africa have no tax exemption, so we have to compete with Vietnam and Thailand,” he said, adding that prices for Cambodian white rice currently range between $430 and $460 per tonne, compared to the $300 price tag in Vietnam and Thailand.
Cambodia’s rice exports to Africa in the first half of this year was nearly 20,000 tonnes, according to a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report.