The end of rice tariffs in the EU and improving global trade conditions boosted the Kingdom’s milled-rice and paddy exports to 1,560,720 tonnes, valued over $394.6 million, in the first three months of 2022.
The General Directorate of Agriculture reported that paddy exports rose 13.80 per cent year-on-year to $248,842,399, weighing in at 1,390,181 tonnes, while milled-rice exports increased by 10.96 per cent year-on-year to $145,810,845, at 170,539 tonnes.
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng affirmed that despite a 12 per cent decline seen last month, the total volume of the January-March milled-rice exports was “around 30,000 tonnes” more than amount logged during the corresponding period of 2021.
Speaking to The Post, Yeng said although transport costs remained high, it has eased slightly due to additional shipping containers and better trade flows to Europe.
China continued to rank first for Cambodia among importing countries for milled rice at 52 per cent, followed by Europe at 28 per cent, and ASEAN and other countries and territories.
Based on the breakdown, milled rice to 21 EU destinations grew 34.51 per cent to 47,674 tonnes while China imported 88,646 tonnes, up 3.84 per cent year-on-year. The rest of the exports were represented by ASEAN and 21 other countries and territories.
“If we look at the growth rate in terms of percentage, ASEAN has the most volatile growth,” he said.
The three-year rice import tariffs, known as safeguard measures, were imposed by the EU in 2019 after its commission found that Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar allegedly caused “economic damage” to European rice producers.
The tax was set at €175 ($190) per tonne in 2019, regressing to €150 per tonne in 2020 and €125 per tonne in 2021.
Meanwhile, Yeng said CRF’s target was to export 750,000 tonnes of milled rice by 2022 but given the pace of exports and a slowdown in Covid-19 cases, it might hit 800,000 tonnes or more this year.
“The rate of exports to China is still high, with a quota of about 400,000 tonnes [as stipulated in an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China]. It has already surpassed 100,000 tonnes. If there is a new MoU with China in future, I think milled rice exports could exceed the target,” he said.
Separately, the agriculture directorate revealed that broken down by category of milled rice, fragrant varieties accounted for 120,422 tonnes (70.6 per cent of the total), white cultivars clocked in at 48,827 tonnes (28.63 per cent), and parboiled rice reached 1,290 tonnes (0.76 per cent).