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Rice sector predicts a worrying trend

A worker in a rice factory in Phnom Penh.
A worker in a rice factory in Phnom Penh. Vireak Mai

Rice sector predicts a worrying trend

Although data for first four months of this year have shown a slight rise in rice exports, millers and exporters continue to raise concerns on the back of April’s rapid decline.

The most recent data on rice exports released by the Ministry of Agriculture stated that 39,550 tonnes of rice was exported in April of this year, more than 30 per cent less than the same time last year. In comparison, March exports only decreased by 14.5 per cent year-on-year.

Despite the total number of exports for the first quarter of this year showing an increase of 0.3 per cent, Kann Kunthy, CEO of Battambang rice miller Brico, said that April signified the beginning of a trend.

“The decrease in rice exports is the result of no [preventative] action being taken from the Cambodian Rice Federation or the government” he said, adding that millers had already sent a slew of recommendations that could alleviate the sector.

Kunthy added that without solutions to address the high electricity and transportation costs, Cambodian rice exports will continue to decrease.

“We have already done our duty so the only thing we can do is hope for a solution from the government,” he said. “At this point we cannot decrease our rice price any lower to make it competitive with declining regional prices.”

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