After three consecutive quarters of decline, Cambodia’s rice exports to the European market are expected to grow in the fourth quarter following a Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) working group’s visit to the EU to promote the produce, CRF president Song Saran said.
The exports dropped sharply in the first nine months after the EU imposed tariffs on the Kingdom’s rice at the beginning of this year.
Saran led the working group to several European countries to meet with various parties and look into issues related to Cambodian rice.
Following the EU’s import duty on Cambodian rice, price competition with other countries led to a decline in exports to Europe, he said.
“Europe is still a potential market for Cambodian rice and we are currently looking for real demand. We have to diversify our markets according to the needs of the European market.
“I hope that rice exports to the European market will increase by the end of 2019,” said Saran.
A CRF report shows that the Kingdom’s rice exports reached 398,586 tonnes in the first nine months of this year – up 2.3 per cent from the same period last year, or 389,264 tonnes.
Rice shipments to the Chinese market stood at 157,793 tonnes during the period. This was up more than 44 per cent year-on-year. But exports to Europe fell to 135,471 tonnes, or down nearly 30 per cent.
The rest was exported to Asean markets, said the report.
Saran said he spoke with German Member of Parliament Martin Patzelt about concerns of the possible withdrawal of the EU’s ‘Everything But Arms’ agreement, which would strongly impact Cambodian farmers.
In France, he lobbied representatives of Ethiquable – a French cooperative specialising in organic products – to increase its orders of Cambodian rice, he said.
Last year, Ethiquable bought around 120 tonnes of rice from the Kingdom, while this year’s orders were a mere 100 tonnes, said Saran.
He expects that Cambodian rice exports to international markets this year will be between 650,000 and 750,000 tonnes, which is a slight increase on last year.
Bayon Cereal Co Ltd CEO Yon Sovann said exports will rebound by the end of the year, following the steady decline in Cambodian rice exports to the European market.
“The CRF’s efforts to explore additional markets for Cambodian rice will help boost exports to Europe by the end of the year,” he said.