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More Rice Name Confusion

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The seeds of confusion in the rice industry have been sown further. After endorsing the Phka Romduol and Phka Chansensor varieties to be the Kingdom’s own umbrella brands for fragrant and premium rice last week, the National Standards Council (NSC) said yesterday it did not rule out adding “Angkor Malis” as another brand name.
 
Hean Vanhan, deputy chairman of the NSC, said that there will be more rice varieties to be standardized as brands in the near future.
 
“Now we have chosen two rice varieties to be standard umbrella brands but more rice varieties will be standardized soon,” said Mr. Vanhan.
“Standardizing rice varieties [as umbrella brands] is to help raise awareness among importers and local consumers,” he added.
 
Mr. Vanhan, who is also deputy director of the General Department of Agriculture, said: “We standardize brands for rice. Every commodity has to have their standards.”
 
Last week the NSC endorsed the Phka Romduol and Phka Chansensor varieties to be Cambodia’s umbrella brands for fragrant and premium rice, rejecting the Cambodian Rice Federation’s “Angkor Malis” brand name.
 
“The name Angkor Malis is not suitable. Thailand already has a Malis brand name and we could have a copyright issue with them if we go ahead and use the name. So we have to carefully consider it,” said Mr. Vanhan.
 
 

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Hun Lak, a board member of the CRF, said adding many standard rice brand names would only make importers and consumers confused as to the true origins of the Cambodian grain.
 
“It is good for ministries to make standards for rice and for others to recognize our standard brand names. But if there are too many standard rice varieties and too many standard brand names, everyone would just get very confused,” said Mr. Hun Lak.
 
Mr. Hun Lak called for a joint technical discussion on the issue with the government and CRF to solve the controversy.
 
Kan Kunthy, CEO of Battambang Rice Investment, said that the process of standardizing rice should be a joint decision between the government and all relevant stakeholders in the industry.
 
“We want all voices to be heard and a joint decision to be made that is acceptable to all,” he said.
 
“Rice traders, too, are concerned and they want to be involved in having a say in the standardization of rice brand names,” added Mr. Kunthy.
However, Mr. Vanhan said that standardizing rice or other products came under the purview of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft.
 
Mr. Cham Prasidh, the minister of industry and handicraft, said the specifications for Romduol and Chansensor national umbrella brands were developed by his ministry and submitted to the NSC.

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