The Kingdom’s rice export industry is on the rise. The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) recently reported that between January and July 2023, the nation exported more than 360,000 tonnes of milled rice to 52 target countries, accounting for 52 per cent of the yearly target of 700,000 tonnes.

In a detailed breakdown, the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body said the total value of the 362,798 tonnes of milled rice was over $250 million. Notably, China and its autonomous regions took in 141,950 tonnes, to the tune of $90.27 million.

European countries imported 141,394 tonnes, valued at $100.31 million, while four ASEAN nations managed 30,171 tonnes, equating to $20.54 million. Elsewhere, 49,193 tonnes went to 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East, totalling $42.74 million.

In addition to these impressive numbers, neighbouring countries received a whopping 2,498,586 tonnes of paddy, worth $663.51 million. Around 60 per cent of these exports underwent certification from relevant authorities.

Yang Saing Koma, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, expressed optimism about Cambodia’s food security situation.

“Cambodia enjoys favourable food security, even though some countries faced food security issues after India stopped exporting white milled rice,” he said on August 6.

He emphasised the efforts by the agriculture ministry and the CRF to collaborate with farmers and millers.

“We have been working hard to promote Cambodia’s milled rice exports to the world market as planned. This will allow Cambodian milled rice to contribute more to global food security,” he said.

Highlighting the strengths of Cambodia’s rice industry, Saing Koma said: “The key factors that are conducive to food security in Cambodia are that the country is a paddy producer with a surplus of more than six million tonnes per year. This contributes to global food security”.

“The paddy harvest in Cambodia has three seasons a year. Also, most people are paddy farmers, and most paddy producers have stocks of rice for consumption,” he added.

Saing Koma also mentioned a study from Kampong Cham province’s Cheung Prey district, revealing that 65 per cent of farmers keep a year-round paddy stockpile, while 20 per cent stockpile and 15 per cent purchase milled rice to eat.

However, he noted that this situation can vary by districts and provinces.

“We are conducting additional studies in more districts and provinces to assess the food security situation in the community as part of ensuring food security for society as a whole,” he said.

CRF president Chan Sokheang praised the government, particularly the ministries of agriculture and commerce, for providing strong encouragement and commitment. Their support has helped the federation in formulating strategies to boost milled rice exports, and Sokheang hopes to reach the goal of exporting one million tonnes of milled rice in the near future.

The government’s active promotion of the Kingdom’s rice industry is reaping rewards, according to the CRF president.

“We see it as the government’s strategy that has promoted our Cambodian milled rice to all countries around the world. When there are major meetings or big events, the prime minister always raises the issue of paddy and milled rice to the dialogue partners and negotiators.

“This informs them about the potential of Cambodian milled rice and encourages consideration of ways that we can support one another. As a result, the demand for both paddy and milled rice continues to grow,” he said

Sokheang also hailed the beneficial collaboration between the government and the private sector.

The increased drying capacity of local firm s and favourable pricing for certain types of paddy, such as IR and OM, has positively influenced the market in the past three years.

“Through the coordination of the government and the growth of the private sector, some paddy rice prices have been favourable in the last three years, while market demand for white milled rice has also increased,” said Sokheang.

These insights reflect a promising trajectory for Cambodia’s rice industry, with the government and private sector working in harmony to boost its global presence and ensure continued growth in both domestic and international markets.