The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) has noted that restrictions on exports of various types of rice, including broken and white rice, as well as wheat and sugar from India, a leading global rice exporter, offer a potential opportunity for Cambodia.

The Economic Times reported that the Indian government has established a minimum export price of $1,200 per tonne for shipments of basmati rice.

This measure aims to ensure that only authentic basmati rice is exported, thereby preventing the sale of other rice varieties under the premium label to circumvent export restrictions.

Speaking on the development, Chan Sokheang, president of the CRF, told The Post on August 29 that the suspension of certain rice exports by India presents an opportunity for the nation to increase its market share.

“This presents an excellent opportunity for Cambodia as an exporter. When demand is high and suppliers are few, we can increase our market share,” he said.

“It is important that we focus on maintaining the quality of our milled rice, and uphold our reputation as providers of the best,” he added.

At the same time, Vietnam, the world’s third largest exporter of the grain, is also moving swiftly to acquire it from Cambodia.

Sokheang noted that Vietnam’s interest in purchasing Cambodian rice is in line with a longstanding trade relationship between the two nations.

What he highlighted, however, is that this year Vietnam has paying higher prices for the Kingdom’s rice.

“Because Vietnam has substantial financial reserves, they have been purchasing a significant amount of rice for stockpiling. The rice may be used for domestic consumption as well as for exports. Even though Vietnam is the largest exporter of rice after India and Thailand, it still imports rice for its own use,” he explained.

He continued by noting that despite rising prices, the international market has not yet seen a corresponding increase.

He pointed out that many countries have stockpiled hundreds of millions of tonnes of rice since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and have not yet depleted those reserves, which is why the international prices have not experienced a notable rise.

Yang Saing Koma, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, agreed that the limitations India has placed on rice exports could be beneficial.

He noted that Cambodia enjoys excellent food security and is also a contributor to the global rice market.

“Some countries have faced food security issues since India suspended rice exports. Cambodia has not only avoided this problem – it has also found an opportunity,” he said.

“Just as we planned, we and the CRF are collaborating with farmers and millers to promote the Kingdom’s rice exports to global markets. This will enable the Kingdom to make further contributions to global food security,” he added.

The CRF reported that in the first seven months of this year, Cambodia exported 362,798 tonnes of rice to 52 target countries, fulfilling about 52 per cent of the 700,000 tonnes it expected to export in 2023.