C AMBODIA wants to export rice within the next few years when local farmers might
be expected to be growing surplus rice, according to Secretary of State of the
Ministry of Commerce Lu Lay Sreng.
On July 14 First Prime Minister Prince
Norodom Ranariddh told the Iranian ambassador that Cambodia may export rice to
Iran in an effort to develop commercial ties between the two countries.
Ranariddh's chief of cabinet, Ly Thuch, said over the next two years Cambodia
plans to export rice to countries like Iran, Israel, Malaysia in return for
petroleum and cash.
Rice exports depended on improved security and
favorable weather, Lay Sreng said.
He also accused Chinese and
Vietnamese settlers of eating a lot of rice and paying no tax. "Cambodians would
not lack [rice] if [the settlers] didn't come to eat. Mainland Chinese come to
Cambodia not only to eat Khmer rice but to bring bad culture," Lay Sreng said,
such as prostitution.
Ministry of Agriculture undersecretary of state
Chea Song said the government recently lifted a national rice export ban because
the crop was likely to be better in 1996.
Song said this year some areas
still lacked rice, while others had grown surplus crop. The government planned
to export rice in 1994 but could not because of flood and drought, he
World Food Program Project Officer Peter Guest said it was too
early to assess the situation of the rice harvest for 1996.