Cambodia exported 300,252 tonnes of rice to the international market in the first four months of this year – equivalent to $210 million – the highest export volume in the past decade, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) said in a report.
The export volume is 40.46 per cent over the 213,763 tonnes reported in the same period last year, it said.
China accounted for 41 per cent of exports or 122,094 tonnes, the EU and the UK 32 per cent or 97,337 tonnes, ASEAN countries 13 per cent or 37,428 tonnes and other countries 14 per cent or 43,339 tonnes.
CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Sunday that rice exports have reached 48.41 per cent of last year’s total exports. The spread of Covid-19 has led to a higher demand for food and storage in all countries, he said.
“It is a great source of pride for the Cambodian rice sector to achieve such growth,” said Yeng.
Early last month, the government suspended the export of paddy and white rice on the grounds of securing domestic supplies while Covid-19 is continuing to spread in Cambodia.
This, Yeng said, did not have a significant impact on the Kingdom’s rice exports to international markets during the period as nearly 100 per cent of the exports were fragrant rice, as of last month.
“The ban will not hurt exports, but it is very important to maintain food security to serve the needs of local people who would prefer to eat white rice,” he said.
Chan Sokheang, chairman and CEO of Signatures of Asia Co Ltd, an international rice exporter, told The Post that concerns over the spread of Covid-19 have been increasing demand for rice worldwide – an opportunity for Cambodian rice exporters.
However, everything depends on the quality and yield produced by farmers, he said.
“We are confident that exports this year will be higher than in 2019, but everything also depends on the weather and the rainwater,” said Sokheang.
Increased demand has caused the price of rice on international markets to rise by about 30 per cent year-on-year, he said, adding that: “The price of rice on the international market may have risen, but for Cambodians there is no price increase.”
CRF president Song Saran told local media on Saturday: “The rise in exports and earnings over the period was due to a rebound in demand from the EU and a number of other countries, especially Hong Kong and Australia.
“The new markets we have developed want quality – and fragrant rice is popular. We hope to expand fragrant rice exports in the near future,” said Saran.
Cambodia’s rice exports to international markets amounted to 620,106 tonnes last year, slightly down 0.97 per cent from 626,225 tonnes in 2018. Revenue was $501 million, down 4.3 per cent from $524 million in 2018.