Hopes are high among the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) and leading industry players that the country’s fragrant and organic rice could expand its European market presence, following the Anuga Food Trade Fair 2023 in Cologne, Germany.

CRF president Chan Sokheang, along with the commerce and finance ministries and various development partners, facilitated the participation of eight top rice millers in the October 6-11 event.

“We have eight companies showcasing our milled rice. It’s an important opportunity, with more than 200 countries attending and between 300,000 to 400,000 businesspeople expected at the expo,” he told The Post on October 10.

He noted a high number of potential trading partners at the expo.

“With backing from Khmer Enterprise and the commerce ministry, we anticipate attracting more buyers, and we eagerly await contact in the upcoming months post-expo,” he said.

Song Saran, president and CEO of Amru Rice (Cambodia), a leading rice miller and exporter, told The Post on October 10 that Cambodia had a prime opportunity at the expo to present its high-quality rice to European buyers. These varieties have garnered substantial support in the market.

“We showcased our fragrant rice, including Sen Kra’op 01 and the Phka Rumduol variety, which clinched the World’s Best Rice Award in 2022, to bolster our exports to a promising EU market,” he said.

“Amru prioritises organic rice due to its acceptance in the market and our commitment to high standards. With advanced technology, we ensure our rice’s safety and quality for consumers not just in Europe but globally,” he added.

CRF reports show that Cambodia exported 456,581 tonnes of milled rice to 57 destinations, netting $327.45 million in the first nine months of 2023.

These exports include 155,366 tonnes to mainland China and Hong Kong ($99.65 million), 190,788 tonnes to 26 EU countries ($138.98 million) and 45,306 tonnes to five ASEAN member states ($31.32 million). Additionally, 66,331 tonnes went to 24 countries in the Middle East, generating $57.49 million.

Fragrant rice dominated sales at 82.43%, followed by white (12.26%), parboiled (3.33%), organic (1.77%) and short-grain white 0.02%.

Cambodia exported 3,077,415 tonnes of unmilled paddy rice in the same period, valued at approximately $862.39 million, with over 59 per cent being officially documented by the pertinent authorities.