Cambodian Rice Millers Association says it will import the Kingdom's third drying machine to help boost rice industry.
A farmer dries rice on National Highway 2 in Takeo province in this file photo.
THE Cambodian Rice Millers Association (CRMA) plans to bring a US$600,000 paddy-drying machine to Takeo province early next year in order to boost rice exports, the president of the association said.
Phou Puy, CRMA president, told the Post Sunday that the drying machine, which is able to dry 300 tonnes of unmilled rice per day, would be imported from Thailand.
"We hope that Cambodia will have greater potential to export quality rice to international markets in 2010 because we are going to have these drying machines," Phou Puy said.
According to Phou Puy, there are currently two paddy-drying machines in Cambodia.
The CRMA owns one in Battambang, which began operations earlier this year and services Pursat, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces. The other, located in Prey Veng province, does not belong the organisation.
"At present we have a rice-drying machine worth nearly $7 million which is able to dry 30 tonnes of rice per hour in Battambang province," said Phou Puy.
"We will be able to produce 20,000 tonnes of rice to export per month with the operation of these two rice-drying machines," he added.
Phou Puy said that the 318 members of the association would share the cost to import the second machine, and that it would be used to dry paddy in five provinces in the southern part of the Kingdom.
New rice mill also planned
He added that the association also planned to look for additional funds for a rice mill costing more than $1 million in Takeo province to complement the drying machine.
Ith Sarun, head of Takeo's provincial Department of Agriculture, said Sunday he welcomed plans to build the machine and rice mills in the province, but said that the association should choose a location that produces large quantities of rice, such as Angkor Borei or Borei Chulsa districts.
"Currently, people dry their rice in the sun. That's why, when we mill rice, 15 to 25 percent of the rice is broken. So, if we have drying machines and rice mills which can limit broken rice to only 5 percent, we will be able to export rice to other countries for a higher price," Ith Sarun said.
"Farmers sell paddy at only 850 riels (21 US cents) per kilogram because their paddy is not dried properly," he added.
Chan Tong Yves, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said on Sunday that he believed the investment would also boost rice production.
"I believe that paddy and rice production will increase if we can find more good rice markets," Chan Tong Yves said.
Last year Cambodia produced over 7 million tonnes of rice on approximately 2.4 million hectares of land throughout the country.