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Hopes banked on new rice facilities amid export dip

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A worker holds a bowl of rice at a mill in Phnom Penh. Despite a decrease in exports, industry experts remain hopeful that new milling and storage facilities will prove successful for the sector. Heng Chivoan

Hopes banked on new rice facilities amid export dip

Cambodian rice exports decrease nearly six percent year-on-year during the first half of the year, while an official from the Ministry of Agriculture urged the private sector to secure a solid position in the international market.

A Ministry of Agriculture report showed rice exports in the first six months of the year was 271,537 tonnes – a 5.9 percent decrease from the 288,562 tonnes over the same period last year.

General Directorate of Agriculture director general Hean Vanhan said on Tuesday that the decline was due to competitiveness in the international market.

He urged the private sector to increase capacity and secure more international orders to strengthen exports.

“Export trends confirm that the private sector is a key player in securing more large-scale contracts. Due to this, such exports will not surpass the total export figure from last year,” he said.

Despite obtaining a 200,000-tonne quota for 2017 from China, which will be bumped up to 300,000 tonnes this year, the Kingdom’s lack of storage facilities and financing are a barrier to export goals.

However, storage may not be so much of an issue anymore, as several new storage and milling facilities are nearly ready for operation, said Cambodia Rice Federation vice president, Hun Lak.

“We gained with the quota from China but our challenge is storage capacity which is causing decreased exports."

“However, in the coming season, the capacity of collecting paddy will be sped up as our storage [facilities] are ready, so it should increase the exports at the end of the year,” he said.

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