Government task forces will meet this week to finalise a single brand under which Cambodian rice will be exported.
Those at the meeting will include the Cambodia Rice Federation, the Agriculture Ministry and the Commerce Ministry.
“We don’t know when the exact date for registration will be because they just applied for registration last week,” said Op Rady, director of the intellectual property rights department of the Ministry of Commerce.
“We have talked several times. The CRF wants to use the name Angkor Malis but the Agriculture Ministry suggested it reconsider the name.
Hean Vanhan, director-general the general directorate of agriculture, said registration of a single rice brand was the duty of the commerce ministry.
Agriculture officials said Cambodia had more than 10 varieties of fragrant rice, and should not single out one as a single brand.
“The CRF selected ‘Angkor Malis’ as the brand, but this is not right because there is already a rice seed called malis,” Mr Vanhan said.
“What the private sector wants to do is to steal foreign branding to make the rice similar to Thailand, since the Thai Hom Mali is already famous.
“If we use ‘Angkor Malis,’ which is specific only to Cambodian premium rice ‘malis,’ it has a different taste to Cambodian fragrant rice such as phka romduol, phka chansensor and phka khnei.
“If customers buy Angkor Malis one day, it may have a different taste when they buy it in the future, even though it carries the same brand,” Mr Vanhan said.
He suggested that a non-specific ‘Angkor Rice,’ with the specific variety written underneath would help clear up the confusion and prevent people from thinking they were buying a specific rice variety when they might be buying a different premium rice.
CRF secretary-general Moul Sarith said all documents for brand registration had been prepared but the CRF wanted a common name and agreement from stakeholders.
“We have already summited to the Ministry of Commerce for registration on the national rice branding and we plan to finish by June.
“Now we have to meet with Agriculture Ministry to decide the common name and we want all relevant stakeholders to agree a single name,” Mr Sarith said.
Mr Sarith added that after several talks involving CRF management and studies both of the local and international market, the CRF wanted the rice to be branded ‘Angkor Malis’.
“However, the Ministry of Commerce asked us to recheck the name while Ministry of Agriculture suggested that we get a better name.
“Thus, we want to have a meeting with Agriculture Ministry and Commerce Ministry to decide the name. We have enough documents for registration. When we finish the meeting, we want to register at the same time,” Mr Sarith said.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice (Cambodia) said previously that the long delay in choosing a brand name meant that exporters were still using their own names for Cambodian rice, such as jasmine rice or fragrant rice.
“We suggest having one name to identify Cambodian premium rice since we don’t want each company having different names and standards for export to foreign countries,” Mr Saran said.
“We want Cambodia to have a single brand and standard.”