Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Noodle factory opening new market for rice



Noodle factory opening new market for rice

A worker at Cambodia’s first noodle factory
A worker at Cambodia’s first noodle factory. Heng Chivoan

Noodle factory opening new market for rice

A new rice noodle venture is filling restaurant spring rolls in the West while pushing the value of Cambodian’s broken rice north

In the competitive world of Cambodian rice, Amru Rice is consistently among the leading exporters, ranking second for the first nine months of this year, with more than 34,450 tonnes, or 13 per cent of the Kingdom’s rice exports for that period.

This year marks a new venture for Amru, with the opening of Cambodia’s first industrial-scale noodle factory. The new facility will add value to Cambodia’s lower graded rice – used to make the noodles – and exports to Europe and the US are already locked in, according to Song Saran, the 33-year-old chief executive officer of Amru Rice Group.

“In the past, we sold broken rice at a low price and we always worry about the market demand,” he said  “But now, we don’t have worry about it anymore. By having this new production [of noodles], we can add a value of about $100 per tonne to our broken rice,” Saran added.

Located in Kampong Speu province, the 3,000 square metre factory cost $700,000 to build and fit out with equipment imported from Japan. Employing 50 people, production of Cambodian noodles began this month, and the first shipment is destined for France in January.

Saran said that recent test samples of his noodles sent to France and the US, via existing relationships he has with rice buyers, proved a hit among a small group of restaurateurs looking to add Cambodian noodles to their menu. “Our product is intended to meet the demand for restaurant appetisers,” he said. “There is an increasing trend of eating spring rolls or wontons as a starter.”

CEO Song Saran
CEO Song Saran. Heng Chivoan

According to Saran, about 10 per cent of rice that comes from his mills is broken rice, which fetches about $440 per tonne. Amru will use the broken rice to produce its noodles, which Saran says will be exported for about $500 to $540 per tonne.
Amru will ship its first container to France next month, with another half-container scheduled for the US shortly thereafter.

Mey Kalyan, senior adviser for the Supreme National Economy Council, said the new facility was an important example of the enhanced production that is needed in Cambodia’s rice industry.

“Whenever we invest to produce more from our raw materials for higher value-add, it’s a great move,” Kalyan said.

Although small-scale, the new factory should be a reminder to others in the industry of the need to diversify, said independent economist Srey Chanthy.

The opportunities to vary rice-based products will become available if efforts to strengthen the image are enhanced, the independent economist added.

“There will be more Cambodian products processed from rice available on the international market in the near future,” he said.

For now, Amru’s noodle factory produces between 200 to 300 tonnes per month, but Saran expects to ramp that up to about 700 tonnes.

“Then I believe that my enterprise can buy broken rice from other rice millers who don’t have the ability to export,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as