With the Indian government set to inject five million tonnes of rice in to its domestic market, Cambodia’s rice producers fear that any spillover into the global rice trade may impact local exports.
According to a June 18 Bloomberg report, India intends to dump about a quarter of its rice stockpiles into the country as soon as possible, to curb inflation caused by lower crop yields brought on by lower rainfall during the monsoon season.
David Van, acting secretary-general of a newly established Cambodia Rice Federation, said the extent of the effects of five million additional tonnes of rice into the Indian market is hard to measure at this time. But he acknowledged that India’s move could effect how much of the grain Cambodia is capable of exporting.
“Should the Indian government indeed pour more volume into the global rice trade with softer prices, the global market prices would certainly be affected as prices could continue to soften, thereby driving further to the edge Cambodia’s ability to export,” he said.
Van added that India’s long grain white rice would be the main competitor for Cambodian rice exports.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cambodia exported 120,300 tonnes of milled rice over the first four months of the year, of which fragrant rice accounted for 52 per cent, while long grain white rice made up 41 per cent.
Khan Kunthy, a local rice miller and exporter was also concerned with India’s plans to inject rice into the market.
“More or less it will affect the global price as there will be more supply in the market. But I think it will not affect our fragrant rice but our long grain white rice,” Kunthy said yesterday.
India was the world’s top rice exporter in 2012 and 2013.
According to data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority in India, the country exported a total of 10.78 million tonnes of rice in 2013-2014 financial year.
The exporting period, which runs from April 1 2013, to March 31 2014, was up by about 6 per cent from close to 10.15 million tonnes exported in the same period the year before.