THE head of the National Rice Millers Association of Cambodia (NRMAC) said Tuesday that Cambodia would not be selling rice this year to the Philippines, the world’s biggest importer, despite the country’s high demand for the crop following recent storms, because Vietnam had already sewn up agreements with Manila.
Phou Puy told the Post on Tuesday that he had contacted the Philippine government regarding the issue in an attempt to persuade the country to buy rice from Cambodia.
“We really want to sell rice to the Philippines, but we will be able to do so next year … not this year,” he said, adding that Cambodia was looking to supply 500,000 tonnes per year in future to its fellow ASEAN member.
We have been trying to export ... but we have still not succeeded.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Hanoi expected to start signing rice-export contracts with Manila from the end of this month, earlier than usual this year due to storms and flooding that have hit the archipelago in recent weeks. Vietnam was due to export about 250,000 tonnes to the Philippines, the report added.
Thun Vireak, director general of rice exporter Green Trade, said Tuesday that Vietnam remains the biggest obstacle to the Kingdom’s selling rice to the Philippines.
“We have been trying to export Cambodian rice to the Philippines, but we have still not succeeded,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kampong Cham branch of the rice millers association said Tuesday that it planned to build a US$1 million rice mill to dry, mill and polish rice for export. Local association President Suor Kheang said half of the cost would be financed by members and the rest by a loan from the Rural Development Bank.
The operation would include a storehouse in the province’s Batheay district, a $60,000 drying machine to be imported from Taiwan, a $400,000 polishing machine from Vietnam and a $80,000 miller, also imported from Vietnam.
The mill, which will be capable of processing 10 tonnes of export-quality rice per hour, is expected to be running by January, Suor Kheang said.
The storehouse, which is under construction, will be able to hold 8,000 tonnes of milled rice or paddy. Suor Kheang said the association was still awaiting delivery of the machines.
Rural Development Bank Chairman Sun Kunthor said the bank had lent $18 million to local miller associations this year to buy rice and build small and medium-size millers.
“We are ready to provide loans to support associations in various provinces who wish to build mills and buy paddy to produce quality rice to export,” he said.
Cambodia, which produces around 7 million tonnes of paddy every year, has only limited rice exports due to a lack of milling capacity.
Earlier this month, the NCRMA said it had missed its deadline for delivery of a shipment of jasmine rice to Hong Kong that had been billed as a milestone for the sector’s export hopes.