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Millers place export hopes on rice group

Millers place export hopes on rice group

Price stability, farming help sought from regional trade body

The Cambodian Rice Millers Association (CRMA) is hoping membership of a proposed new regional rice-trading association will help the country's farmers export 200,000 tonnes of milled rice next year.

CRMA president Phu Puy said the association was preparing a plan to buy unmilled rice from local farmers to sell through the so-called Acmecs Rice Traders Association.

The association will comprise the five countries of the Ayeyawady-Chao Praya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs) - Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The plan was unveiled Saturday at a meeting of Asean economic ministers in Bangkok following Cambodian leader Hun Sen's initiative at the Asean Summit in Cha-am in late February. It focuses on price stabilisation by next year, development of rice growing techniques and food security in the region.

"To date, we have yet to ink any large-scale agreements with any countries to export our rice since our production ability is still limited and there remains a shortage of capital," Phu Puy said.

Ministry of Commerce Secretary of State Mao Thora said Monday the government would seek technical assistance from partners in the association to streamline export procedures and boost exports of Cambodian rice.

"I hope that the five nations will be open for joint discussion and share technical assistance and their markets to create efficient and stable exports," he said.

It would take three years once the association was formed for Cambodia to reach its full export capacity, as it still lacked the supporting infrastructure for exports, he said.

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