Cambodia exported 50,450 tonnes of rice worth $39 million to the international market in January, down 15.39 per cent compared to the same period in 2018, Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng said on Sunday.
Yeng told The Post that Cambodian rice exports to the European market last month decreased 5,269 tonnes (22 per cent) year-on-year since the EU Commission introduced safeguard measures last year on rice imports from the Kingdom.
Last month’s rice exports to China decreased 3,664 tonnes (20 per cent) year-on-year, he said.
“Cambodian rice exports to the EU market are set to increase in the coming months, thanks to a drop in taxes on rice imports from €175 to €150 [$190 to $160] per tonne, which will take effect in mid-February,” he said.
Customs duty to the EU for last year stood at €175 per tonne and will be reduced to €150 this year and to €125 next year.
Referring to the Lunar New Year which fell in January this year instead of its usual February date, Yeng said: “Having too early a Lunar New Year celebration reduced shipments [of rice].
“Cambodian rice exports to the Chinese market show a decline. I think they will continue to experience a negative impact in the long-term due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China,” he said.
He said some Cambodian rice exporters have delayed their shipments since last week.
Meanwhile, the EU continued to be the leading destination market for Cambodian rice markets last month, holding a 37 per cent share of the market, while China held 30 per cent, Asean 11 per cent and other countries 22 per cent, a CRF report said.
“Malaysia and Brunei were major importers of Cambodian rice, which showed a good and stable rice market, while Australia and Gabon sped up their imports from Cambodia,” the report said.
Rice exports reached 620,106 tonnes last year, a 0.97 per cent drop from 626,225 tonnes in 2018. Coupled with the 1.43 per cent decline between 2018 and 2017, the modest drop marks the second consecutive year that exports have fallen.
The total value of the Kingdom’s rice exports were valued at some $501 million last year, down 4.3 per cent from $524 million in 2018, the report said.
Speaking to the press at the two-day trade exhibition, Business Opportunities in Agriculture last week, US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy vowed to improve access to finance for the Kingdom’s exporters, producers and small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Major rice producers and exporters can get loan guarantees from the US Import-Export bank which will give them access to private equity lending and the capability to purchase some of the highest-tech silos to store their rice in outstanding condition, with climate and pest control.
“[Use of] first in, first out technology will continue to grow and allow Cambodia to increase rice exports,” said Murphy.