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Milled rice exports climb, prices soar

Milled rice exports climb, prices soar

Cambodia's milled rice exports increased by more than seven per cent year-on-year during the first 10 months of 2011, while international demand for the grain drove up rice prices by nearly 200 per cent, commerce officials said.

The Kingdom exported more than 136,000 tonnes of milled rice between January and October, nearly 9,300 tonnes more than the same period in 2010, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Rising international demand has seen the value of Cambodia’s milled rice exports climb by nearly 200 per cent, Kong Putheara, director of statistics and information at the Ministry of Commerce, said yesterday.

Milled rice exports during the first 10 months of the year were valued at US$78.18 million, up from $26.11 million during the same period in 2010, ministry data showed. Kong Putheara said the majority of Cambodia’s milled rice exports went to the European Union, United States, Korea, Japan and other ASEAN countries.

The Cambodian government plans to export one million tonnes of milled rice by 2015, although critics such as the World Bank have said a lack of milling capacity, among several other infrastructure problems, could hold exports to a mere quarter of the quota.

Floods which hit the country in early September have affected the country’s rice export potential, Kong Putheara added, but receding waters in the heaviest hit provinces will soon allow for paddy planting.

Kim Savuth, general director for Khmer Food Company, said his company’s rice exports increased by about 300 per cent by mid November compared to the same period last year. He attributed the increase to a decrease in corruption.

“The increase in exports was because the government put pressure on those officials who took illegal road fees from rice traders,” Kim Savuth said, adding that it was common for officials to set up unauthorised traffic stops on rice-transport routes.

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