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

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered

  • Women detained for forcing kids to beg

    Two women were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday for forcing six children to beg for money for several months at the Chhouk Meas market in Krang Thnong commune in the capital’s Sen Sok district. Phnom Penh Department of Anti-human Trafficking and