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Kingdom’s rice exports drop despite deals

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A woman works in a rice processing factory in Battambang province. Heng Chivoan

Kingdom’s rice exports drop despite deals

Cambodian rice exports have dramatically declined over the past four months compared to the same period last year, causing significant concern for the rice industry even as plans are in the works to expand exports by thousands of tonnes, according to government officials.

The data, released by the General Department of Agriculture yesterday, show that total rice exports in the first four months of this year totalled 197,354 tonnes, compared to the 212,394 tonnes exported in the same period last year, a year-on-year decrease of 7 percent.

“It is really concerning for the rice industry,” said Hean Vanhan, director general of the General Department of Agriculture, yesterday. He stated that while the Cambodia rice industry could produce 10 million tonnes of raw paddy, exports are realistically expected to fall.

Vanhan claimed that even though agreements had been signed to boost exports, terms of the deals and price negotiations were still ongoing.

“We will set up a meeting with the private sector and relevant ministries to address the added challenges,” he said.

China, which agreed to accept 200,000 tonnes of rice from the Kingdom last year and will expand that quota to 300,000 tonnes this year, was the top destination for rice shipments leaving the country.

Bangladesh also inked a deal with the government last year to purchase 1 million tonnes of rice from Cambodia over the next five years. None has yet been shipped, however, as the memorandum remains in the negotiation phase.

Long Kemvichet, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce claims that the deal with Bangladesh is still being ironed out and that the two sides are, “working toward implementing the MoU”.

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