Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rice industry growth hampered by disunity

Rice industry growth hampered by disunity

Sacks of rice await sale at Phnom Penh's Orussey Market in 2014.
Sacks of rice await sale at Phnom Penh's Orussey Market in 2014. Eli Meixler

Rice industry growth hampered by disunity

The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), the apex body of the nation’s rice industry, is looking to bring all relevant stakeholders under one unifying vision for the sector, citing the lack of cooperation among its members as a key reason for missing last year’s 1 million-tonne milled rice export target.

“There is a lack of cooperation and confidence, with some members not following the CRF’s policy, which remains a challenge to reach our export target,” CRF vice president Hun Lak told reporters yesterday.

He said a common approach would help build confidence among farmers, maintain quality standards and improve the branding of Cambodian rice.

“If we can fix these obstacles we will reach this target in the next five years,” he said.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the federation, according to Lak, was managing the country’s supply and demand of rice paddy. He cited instances where millers could not purchase paddy given that the farmers desperate for cash had already sold it to millers in neighbouring countries.

To remedy this scenario and achieve the export target of 1 million tonnes of milled rice per year, Lak said the federation’s members would need about $550 million for paddy procurement.

He said the capital would be used to purchase 2.5 million tonnes of paddy, assuming that it costs 1,250 riel and 800 riel per kilo of fragrant and white rice, respectively.

CRF president Sok Puthyvuth said the capital requirement was just a ballpark figure based on a preliminary assessment of the sector’s requirements.

“We are still studying this, but once we agree on a specific number the government will play an important role to facilitate it,” he said.

Taing Chhung Ngy, director of market promotion at rice exporter LBN Angkar (Kampuchea), said unity was essential to the federation’s effectiveness.

He said that while some exporters would agree to a common policy, such as unified rice prices, during meetings their actions did not match their commitments.

“We cannot walk on the same path unless we understand each other’s problems well,” he added.

The Cambodia Rice Federation was established in May, 2014, and currently comprises 230 members.

The federation has an operating budget of $700,000 for two years ending May, 2016, which is covered by a one-time Ministry of Economy and Finance allocation, membership fees and from contributions by its 17 board members.

Additionally, the federation collects $1 per tonne of fragrant rice exported and $0.50 per tonne on white rice from its members.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Western poll flak is ‘pressure to take the Kingdom hostage’

    After last month’s national elections brought praise for the orderly manner they were run and managed, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed criticism from the West as a “violation of the Kingdom’s independence”. He said the attitude of