Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MoUs signed in hopes of boosting rice exports to China

MoUs signed in hopes of boosting rice exports to China

A rice farmer gathers rice grains for sale after harvest season in Battambang province.
A rice farmer gathers rice grains for sale after harvest season in Battambang province. Heng Chivoan

MoUs signed in hopes of boosting rice exports to China

The Cambodian government signed two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with three giant Chinese state-owned institutions yesterday, creating partnerships intended to boost the production of Cambodian paddy rice and milled rice for export, according to a release from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The first of the two MoUs outlines a government-to-government arrangement to further open market access and facilitate growth of Cambodian rice exports to China, the Kingdom’s single largest rice importer, while the second deal provides technical assistance intended to enhance the Kingdom’s rice warehouse and storage infrastructure.

“This project is designed to resolve the challenges in the Cambodian rice sector to ensure long-term sustainability, and to address these issues systematically and comprehensively,” the statement said.

The statement did not provide financial details on the value of either of the deals, but did say that the Cambodian government will seek concessional loans from China to implement the projects.

Officials from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Commerce represented Cambodia yesterday, as they signed the first deal with both the Export-Import Bank of China and CITIC Group Corporation and signed the second deal with both CITIC and a Chinese consortium called Henan Yuguang International Economic & Technical Cooperation.

According to a report released last week, Cambodia has exported 142,768 tonnes of milled rice to China so far this year, a 59 percent increase from the same period last year accounting for nearly one-third of the country’s total rice exports in 2017.

Cambodia is expected to export a total of 200,000 tonnes of rice to China by the end of the year, and hopes to increase its exports to the country by 50 percent in 2018.

Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice Cambodia, whose company recently obtained a $5 million loan from the government to build a massive storage and drying facility in Kampong Thom province, said yesterday that these MoUs represent positive government initiatives.

Despite unmet local demand for paddy rice, Saran said that there is an annual outflow of about 4 million tonnes of paddy rice to other countries during harvest season because of the industry’s inability to process the rice locally.

“Having enough warehouse and storage infrastructure will help prevent the outflow of paddy rice, especially fragrant rice, to our neighbouring countries during harvesting seasons,” he said, adding that this will ensure food security especially in the event of a natural disaster.

“China is a potential market for a lot of Cambodian products, including many other agricultural crops,” he added. “We can build our Cambodian brand in the Chinese market via rice for now, and hopefully this will open the door for other agricultural products later.”

Mey Kalyan, senior adviser for Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC), said yesterday that the Kingdom has been in need of greater infrastructure in the rice industry for a long time.

“Implementing these projects will take some time,” he said. “But we greatly welcome the MoU agreements made today, and we hope that these projects will be implemented sooner rather than later.”

Updated Tuesday 14 November, 7:05am.

MOST VIEWED

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The