Cambodia signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract on the “Promotion of Paddy Production and Rice Exports Project” with Chinese state-owned company CITIC Construction Co Ltd to build rice storage facilities and drying silos in strategic locations in the Kingdom, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said.
The signing ceremony was held on Thursday and inked by Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak with CITIC Construction chairman Chen Xiaojia.
The project aims to help rice farmers, traders and exporters and is in line with supporting the government’s strategy to export at least one million tonnes of milled rice to international markets a year. The project will also prevent declines in paddy prices.
The agreement states that CITIC Construction and the Kingdom’s Green Trade Company will build paddy and milled rice warehouses in 12 locations, with a total capacity of 827,000 tonnes, and drying silos at 10 locations, which will be capable of drying 13,000 tonnes per day.
The facilities will be located in Pursat, Battambang, Takeo, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Kandal, Kampong Speu and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
“Through the project, Cambodia will have sufficient capacity to increase rice exports to international markets,” said the press release.
Mekong Oryza Trading Co Ltd chairman Hun Lak welcomed the news, saying that Cambodia lacked the required facilities during recent harvest seasons, despite the state and private sectors’ efforts.
However, he said there is no guarantee that the new facilities can resolve the sector’s issues, and that more investor capital is needed.
Baitang (Kampuchea) Plc president and chairman Phou Puy said paddy and rice facilities have been planned almost everywhere, especially in the four major rice producing areas – Battambang, Kampong Thom, Prey Veng and Takeo provinces.
He said the additional facilities will open up more opportunities for farmers.
“We welcome the investment because farmers will have more opportunities in terms of competitive prices,” he said.
Along with the signing above, Swiss-based Buhler Asia Private Limited on Wednesday unveiled plans to invest in high-tech drying silos in Cambodia.
At a meeting with Sorasak, Buhler Asia chairman David Wang said he plans to invest in building modern dried silos in 10 locations in 10 target provinces.
During the first four months of this year, Cambodia exported more than 210,000 tonnes of milled rice to international markets – up more than eight per cent compared to the same period last year.
Cambodia’s rice exports last year amounted to 626,225 tonnes – down some 1.5 per cent from 2017. The EU market has the largest volume of 269,127 tonnes and China with 170,154 tonnes.