Sierra Leone plans to import milled rice from Cambodia for domestic consumption. The request was made when the visiting Sierra Leone Ambassador to China Ernest Ndomahina met Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak on Wednesday at the ministry.
Ndomahina said his country’s agricultural sector is still facing challenges especially in terms of poor infrastructure. Hence, there is a need for the country to import more milled rice from Cambodia to meet annual demand.
“Cambodia has been developing remarkably. We want to source milled rice from here, but we are still studying the possibility in terms of food safety because rice is the staple in our country,” he said.
Sorasak welcomed the ambassador’s request but he encouraged traders or companies from Sierra Leone to study the feasibility on importing rice before signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The minister also encouraged direct talks with local businessmen.
Meanwhile, industry players see potential in new markets for the country’s rice exports.
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng said so far, Cambodia had exported milled rice to some African countries in smaller volumes but there had never been any rice exports to Sierra Leone.
“I think that it is good news for our rice sector if we can penetrate more new markets such as Sierra Leone,” he said.
Yeng said in the first 11 months this year, Cambodia had exported some 30,000 tonnes to some other African countries, such as Ghana, Gabon, Togo, and Kenya.
“Our milled rice exports in the region has been on the uptrend over the last few years. However, it is still considered a small amount, so we hope to see further increases in the coming years,” he said.
According to an official report, in the first 11 months of this year, rice exports to the international market totalled 514,149 tonnes. This was a 3.4 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, which stood at 497,240 tonnes.
China was the Kingdom’s leading export market in the first 11 months of this year, with 195,242 tonnes. The EU imported 174,397 tonnes and the Asean region 69,239 tonnes. The balance was exported to Africa and other destinations.