More than half of 50 rice millers that applied for export permits to China passed a health and safety inspection by a visiting Chinese team, though they will have to wait for official confirmation from the Beijing government before they can begin exporting, an Agriculture Ministry official said yesterday.
Hean Vanhan, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, said four inspectors from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) visited Cambodia last week to inspect local rice mills. The team determined that 27 Cambodian millers satisfied China’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards, and would be eligible to export their product to the Chinese market.
“In order for us to export to China, they have to check and ensure that our rice production does not have any adverse impact on health or contain any pests,” he explained. “We are now waiting for an official statement from China in order to confirm that the rice millers can begin exporting.”
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF), said greater control over the quality of Cambodian rice milling would help improve the capacity of the millers, but it could also prove problematic for smaller millers.
“Checking the quality of rice milling and checking for pests is the right methodology for strengthening the capacity of Cambodia’s rice millers, and meeting the Chinese requirements helps build up the reputation of Cambodian rice,” he said. “But this still poses a challenge for the millers that cannot afford to meet those standards due to limited capacity.”