Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body.
Phka Rumduol is a type of long-grain jasmine rice that has emerged as a top choice of international buyers, and is one of the varieties exported under the “Angkor Malys” certification mark. The Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute says it released the variety for farmer use only in 1999, after 10 years of development and testing.
Speaking to The Post on the same day, Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) president Song Saran hailed the award as a “great honour” for the local rice sector.
“We’d like to thank the CRF team, the farmers, rice mill members, the agricultural community, and the agriculture and commerce ministries for supporting the production of the ‘best rice’, allowing us to participate in the competition and bring home the award to Cambodia,” he said.
Phka Rumduol had previously won the award four times, for three consecutive years from 2012-2014, and then again in 2018 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The jasmine variety took second place three years in a row from 2015-2017.
“Andy” Lay Chhun Hour, CRF vice-president and CEO of Battambang-based City Rice Import Export Co Ltd, Cambodia’s largest rice exporter, is seen as the main person behind Phka Rumduol’s participation in this year’s competition.
Chhun Hour took great pride in the Cambodian rice sector’s role in achieving this year’s award, telling The Post that the accolade would translate into an uptick in exports and many other benefits for the community.
“This reputation will further help promote the quality of Cambodian rice” and recognition thereof, he said, noting that the locally-grown grain must pass a host of inspections for shape, texture, smell and taste to clinch the award.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina on November 17 took to Facebook to “profoundly congratulate” Phka Rumduol on its fifth coronation as World’s Best Rice, saying the honour would “bring pride to Cambodia”.
Mak Chamroeun, chairman of agriculture value chain management company AgriBee (Cambodia) Plc, voiced delight at the results of this year’s World Rice Conference, telling The Post that the decoration would provide a leg-up for the Kingdom’s milled rice export sector to better compete with other countries.
Milled-rice exports have been performing well this year, amounting to 509,249 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2022, up 10.67 per cent from the 460,169 tonnes registered in the same time last year, as reported by the agriculture ministry on November 17.
Chamroeun said this fifth-time victory is a “great source of pride” for the CRF and government, and posited that it cements the reputation of Cambodian milled rice as a go-to option.
“I’d like to congratulate the CRF, partners and members, the agricultural community, as well as farmers who work hard for the cultivation and processing of rice to ensure quality and standards,” he said.