THE Federation of Cambodian Rice Millers Associations announced Tuesday that it had invested US$7.8 million to construct a packaging plant for milled rice in Battambang province, a move it said would help boost Cambodia's prospects for exporting rice.
Federation President Phou Puy said construction of the factory was already 90 percent complete, and that the plant would go online in December.
"We hope that when the plant is finished, it will play an important role in supporting Cambodia's plan to export in a more competitive manner," Phou Puy said.
Investment in the technology - which was imported from Japan - came from a number of members of the federation, Phou Puy said, adding that it would be able to pack 720 tonnes of rice per day.
Packaged milled rice has more potential markets and a higher market value than unmilled rice due to countries looking for value-added, higher-quality products.
Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, said that Cambodia would be ready to export international-standard rice next year following a series of investments in infrastructure, including the packaging machine.
"We will start two projects in 2010 to discover any obstacles which have hindered previous efforts to export," he said.
A French delegation will head to Cambodia this month to discuss with officials methods to help strengthen the Kingdom's rice- and rubber-export industries, Mao Thora said.
Last month, Phou Puy said that the federation planned to export 200,000 tonnes of milled rice next year.