China remained the leading market for milled rice from Cambodia in the first 11 months of 2020, absorbing a market share of 39.09 per cent, or 234,940 tonnes of Cambodia’s total milled-rice exports, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Cambodia exported 601,045 tonnes of milled rice to international markets in the period January-November, up 16.9 per cent compared to 514,149 tonnes in the same period last year.
The ministry reported this, citing data from the General Department of Customs and Excise that was extracted from phytosanitary certificates.
It said jasmine and fragrant rice accounted for 481,123 tonnes, white long-grain rice accounted for 113,703 tonnes, while long-grain parboiled rice accounted for 6,151 tonnes.
Exports to the EU, ASEAN countries and other destinations reached 188,436 tonnes, 78,208 tonnes and 99,461 tonnes, respectively, accounting for 31.35, 13.01 and 16.55 per cent of total milled-rice exports for the period.
Minister Veng Sakhon told The Post on December 1 that the Kingdom’s milled-rice exports had seen continued growth in all destinations, especially the Chinese market.
With year-on-year surges recorded every month this year, Cambodia expects full-year export data to be slightly higher than last year’s levels, he said.
“While I am still optimistic that the Cambodian milled-rice export market will continue its gradual incline going forward, it all hinges on orders,” Sakhon said.
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) president Song Saran said the Chinese were constantly placing more and more orders.
With China’s immense untapped potential perennially dangling over their heads, he said CRF leaders and relevant authorities often attended a plethora of events across China to promote the quality and flavour of Cambodian rice.
“Given this current steady stream of growth, we hope that China will order more rice from Cambodia down the line,” he said.
Having gained traction throughout this year, 2020 full-year milled-rice exports could clock in 17 per cent higher than last year, Saran said, pointing out that the forecast had been revised down from 20 per cent.
He chalked up the downgrade to the recent trifecta of droughts, flooding and the resulting disruptions in transport supply chains.
In August 2010, the government pledged to export one million tonnes of milled-rice by 2015. However, the Kingdom exported 387,000 tonnes in 2014, 538,396 tonnes in 2015, 542,144 tonnes in 2016, 635,679 tonnes in 2017, 626,225 tonnes in 2018 and 620,106 tonnes last year.
Using Saran’s prediction as a basis, a highball estimate would put 2020’s figure at 730,000 tonnes, still short of the coveted one-million mark.
Sakhon said that as of November 30, paddy exports to Vietnam weighed in at 1,777,107 tonnes, but stressed that they do not affect outbound shipments of milled rice.
He said the Kingdom sees a paddy surplus each year, with the figure hitting 5.76 million tonnes last year.
“Last year, Cambodia exported more than two million tonnes of paddy to Vietnam, while the rest was processed into animal feed and other uses,” he said.