Exports of Cambodian milled rice rose sharply during the first four weeks of this year, and traders are optimistic about the demand in Asian markets, particularly China.
Figures from the one-stop service office at the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) show the Kingdom exported 25,700 tonnes of milled rice in January — an increase of 165 per cent compared with the corresponding period of 2012, during which only 9,700 tonnes were exported.
Hun Lak, secretary-general of the Alliance of Rice Producers and Exporters of Cambodia and general director of Mekong Oryza Trading, said the figures were a good sign for Cambodian milled rice — particularly fragrant milled rice, which would be absorbed mostly by the Chinese and Malaysian markets.
“In the past few months, we’ve seen huge demand from China and Malaysia for fragrant milled rice,” Lak said.
“The Chinese market will not drop, because they eat a lot of rice and they need fragrant milled rice.”
Lak said Cambodia exported mostly fragrant milled rice at a price between $930 and $970 a tonne.
Sen Rith, the president of Siem Reap province’s Rice Millers Association, said Cambodian traders had ordered a lot of rice this year, and with a four-tonne milling machine he could not deliver on time.
“I sell to local traders who do additional processing,” Rith said. “Currently, we have a bigger demand than our capacity. Whatever amount we produce, the market absorbs all of it.”
Rith said that right now, Cambodia seemed a good place for most businesses.
Cambodia’s milled-rice exports to international markets have grown less than two per cent year on year, according to a CDC report.
Figures show that last year, Cambodia exported 205,717 tonnes, an increase of only 1.9 per cent over the 201,899 tonnes exported in 2011.
The Kingdom exported milled rice to 58 countries, most of them in Europe.
France was the biggest buyer, with 47,217 tonnes, and Poland was in second place with 34,967 tonnes.
Malaysia imported 25,553 tonnes of rice from Cambodia, but the data shows that only 23 tonnes were exported to Africa.
Hean Vanhorn, deputy director-general of the ministry and director of the single-window secretariat for facilitating milled rice exports, could not confirm these figures because he was out of the office yesterday.
The Cambodian government hopes to export 250,000 tonnes of rice by the end of this year and is aiming for a 25 per cent increase in milled-rice exports by 2015.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]