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Rice deal with Papua New Guinea on the table

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Young men move sacks of rice in a warehouse in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodian could soon be exporting its world-renowned rice to the Oceanian nation of Papua New Guinea after trade representatives from both countries held negotiations last week.

Hean Vanhan, director-general of the General Directorate of Agriculture, and his team of ministry officials on Friday held a meeting with representatives of Papua New Guinea’s National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Agency (Naqia) to work out a rice deal.

According to Mr Vanhan, both countries have agreed to ink an agreement on the exportation of Cambodian rice next month.

“Negotiations today focused on the quality of Cambodian rice, the amount to be exported, export procedures as well as sanitary and phytosanitary requirements,” Mr Vanhan said. He added that the visiting delegation also wanted to know about rice storage facilities in Cambodia and how the country deals with pests.

“They agreed to purchase rice from Cambodia, and we agreed to supply a product of the highest quality,” he said, adding that shipments of the commodity could begin as soon as both parties affix their signatures to the agreement next month.

Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, told Khmer Times that Papua New Guinea is mostly interested in Cambodia’s premium rice, particularly Phka Romdoul. He said the country, who already imports from Thailand and other countries in the region, demands between 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes of rice per year.

“They don’t care about the price,” Mr Saran said. “Their concern is quality and safety. This is good because Cambodia can fully comply with these requirements.”

According to the latest figures available, exports of Cambodian rice equalled 161,115 tonnes during the first three months of the year, a decrease of nearly 3.5 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

During the first quarter of the year, Cambodia exported rice to 63 destinations. China was the top buyer, followed by France, Malaysia, Gabon, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

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