Cambodia and Bangladesh have finalised terms on a massive rice deal that could see up to 1 million tonnes of rice purchased from the Kingdom over the next five years, with the first shipment due to begin by November, a source close to the deal said yesterday.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), confirmed that an agreement had been made between the two governments after the relevant ministries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in August that hoped to replenish Bangladesh’s stockpiles after heavy flooding earlier this year decimated the country’s crops.
“We have already signed a price agreement with supply terms valid for six months in order to reach the export target of 250,000 tonnes,” he said. “We will start to ship biweekly from November to April.
However, the total amount we will supply will be based on the level of local production and international market demand.”
He added that the deal, which will be managed by the state-run company Green Trade, allows for flexibility in the next harvest season that will begin in January. While he declined to provide the agreed upon price for the deal, he said that the current market price for Cambodian white rice was at $430 a tonne.
In late August, Reuters news agency reported that Bangladesh had agreed to purchase Cambodian rice at $453 a tonne, while local officials insisted that price negotiations were still ongoing.
Soeng Sophary, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), said that the government would only play the role of helping the Cambodian rice sector access new markets, and that price agreements would be handled by the private sector.
“We are working on market access, but the private sector is responsible for fulfilling the agreements and reaching the export targets,” she said.
In 2016, Cambodia exported 542,144 tonnes of milled rice, a nominal 1 percent increase from the previous year while rice exports reached 300,000 tonnes during the first half of the year, according to MoC data. Most of the rice has been bound for China after it agreed to an export quota of 200,000 tonnes of rice this year.