Cambodia will push for increased exports of Phka Rumduol rice to the French market in the near future, agriculture minister Dith Tina pledged upon his return from a recent visit to France.
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 “Malys Angkor” 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.
Tina was attending the Paris International Agricultural Show, where he explored opportunities for Cambodian agricultural products to enter the large European market.
“Cambodia needs to produce high-quality products that meet international standards if we want to be competitive on the international stage,” he said.
“Phka Rumduol rice needs to be registered as a trademark to indicate its origins and distinguish it as an authentic Cambodian product. It should be labelled with unique QR codes which identify its source. This will give confidence to consumers, both domestic and overseas,” he said.
In a recent interview with Radio France International (RFI) in France, Tina said Cambodia’s agricultural products need support from Cambodians living in France.
“Cambodia has the Phka Rumduol rice variety, which has won five competitions,” he said, referring to the five annual editions of the World Rice Conference in which it was crowned the “World’s Best Rice”.
“Still, it’s not well known enough [in France].
“I met with people in Paris about exporting Phka Rumduol to France. Most Cambodians living in France know only jasmine rice like the Romeat variety. But Phka Rumduol is the highest quality of jasmine rice,” he said.
Lun Yeng, secretary-general of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) – the Kingdom’s apex rice industry – said the federation is prepared to work closely with the ministry to promote the export of the top quality product. At present, Cambodia exports between 70,000 and 80,000 tonnes of Phka Rumduol rice per annum.
“Malys Angkor is a certification mark that represents fragrant rice that includes several varieties: Phka Rumduol, Phka Rumdeng, Phka Romeat and Somaly. Once consumers taste Phka Rumduol, they will seek it out. We will register it as a trademark and more people will discover its quality,” he added.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, said his company exported about 2,000 tonnes of milled rice a year to the French market.
“I support the minister’s idea that we should register Phka Rumduol rice as a trademark . . . Phka Rumduol has won several awards, so we should build a unique brand around that fact,” he said.