Cambodian farmers are becoming instrumental in ensuring both national and global food security, according to Yang Saing Koma, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The world is grappling with food shortages due to conflicts, such as the war in Ukraine, and export bans like that by India, the largest global exporter of milled rice.

“Cambodian farmers produce 12 million tonnes of paddy rice annually, with over six million tonnes exported,” Saing Koma stated.

This makes Cambodia the eighth largest rice exporter worldwide.

With vast untapped potential, the nation can augment paddy rice production and broaden its international rice market reach.

“Through the deployment of commune agriculture officials and the formation of farming communities linked to the market via contract farming, we can address market challenges,” Saing Koma asserted.

He added that the government’s financial policy, which includes a budget package exceeding $100 million, ensures the balance of paddy rice prices and promotes the comprehensive development of irrigation.

Lun Yeng, the secretary-general of the Cambodia Rice Federation, commented that there are no current indications of a global food crisis.

“While we don’t have detailed information on the reduction of milled rice production in major exporters like India and China, we can’t declare a global food crisis. However, we’ll drive our milled rice exports to meet our planned targets,” he stated.

Commerce minister Pan Sorasak recently highlighted Cambodia’s golden opportunity as a food-producing nation. Despite the pandemic, Cambodia has maintained a steady food supply, enabling regular exports.

“As a country that produces more food than it consumes, we have the capacity to boost production to meet regional and global needs,” he remarked.

“The global crisis presents an opportunity for us to expand into new markets with our milled rice and strive towards our goal of exporting one million tonnes in the near future,” he added.

The World to Export website reports that the global milled rice exports in 2022 were worth $29.3 billion, an 8.7 per cent rise compared to the previous year.

The top five exporters were India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and the US, collectively accounting for 72.8 per cent of the global market. Cambodia ranked 12th, contributing $416 million and accounting for 1.4 per cent of the global market share.