Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rice export target a big task

Rice export target a big task

A woman prepares rice for packaging in front of a store in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district
A woman prepares rice for packaging in front of a store in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district. Scott Howes

Rice export target a big task

Analysis

The pace of Cambodia’s rice exports are expected to slow this year. Unable to maintain the steady rate of previous years, the export volume for the first half of 2014 is much the same as it was this time last year.

At the end of June, milled rice exports had reached 178,000 tonnes for the year, barely above the 176,000 exported for the first six months of 2013.

And with the government’s looming target of 1 million tonnes exported in 2015, the trend suggests it will be a difficult goal for the industry to reach.

Sok Puthyvuth, president of Cambodia Rice Federation, told the Post yesterday that the deceleration of exports this year was caused by external factors, such as the release of Thailand’s rice stockpiles causing lower prices on the international market, which meant fewer orders for Cambodian rice.

“We have the same cake to divide between more and more people,” Puthyvuth said, referring to the international demand for rice remaining stable this year while market supply continues to rise.

“It is now the market for the buyers, but it is not for the seller.”

Puthivuth expects Cambodian rice exports in 2014 to remain similar to last year’s, forecasting an end of year total of about 400,000 tonnes.

But there are still domestic infrastructure problems to overcome, according to Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice.

Saran said the lack of capacity at ports was one example of how the sectors export potential is being restricting.“In fact, I should have exported 2,000 tonnes more of rice [in June] but it has not left, it is remaining at the port,” he said.

Saran estimates that the industry could have exported another 30,000 tonnes already this year if the ports were operating more efficiently.

In 2009, the first official year of recorded exports, Cambodia sold 12,600 tonnes of rice overseas. Helped by EU trade preferences, exports have grown year on year, to 205,000 tonnes in 2012 and to a record 378,000 tonnes in 2013.

But, in the lead up to the 2015 target, it appears the export rate will plateau this year.

Mey Kalyan, a senior adviser at the Supreme National Economic Council and a co-writer of the country’s rice exports policy, said yesterday that competition from other rice-producing countries means there will be peaks and troughs in Cambodia’s exports, but having defined an export target has significantly advanced the industry.

“We have identified all the challenges in the rice industry. From the rice field, seeds, fertiliser, irrigation, the cost of production and milling challenges, to a lack of finance and many other issues, we will overcome these; we have already solved some problems, “he said.

“When having a clear goal, we have been trying to do the work together. Even if we can achieve 80 per cent of the goal when the time comes, it is still a good result,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial