Cambodia’s leading milled rice exporter and miller, Amru Rice (Cambodia) will sign a $10 million loan agreement with International Finance Corporation next month to boost organic rice production to make the company one of the largest producers and exporters of the commodity in the region.
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Song Saran, President and CEO of Amru Rice, yesterday told Khmer Times that after years carrying out organic rice farming since 2013, the company found ways to scale up its production and supply chain to boost exports and diversify its markets while the demand for the commodity is rising.
He said that the company signed the draft loan agreement on Wednesday and expects to finalise the arrangement with IFC early next month.
“That is a good opportunity for us and IFC has shown confidence in our track record by giving us more funds to expand our production and supply chain and also to build more infrastructure for farming activities in cooperation with farmers,” Mr Saran said. “The loan will be used to expand warehousing and organic rice milling facilities and also to purchase paddy from farmers. We would like to raise our organic rice production from 10,000 tonnes per year to 40,000 tonnes by 2023.”
“With this loan we will be able to boost production and diversify our markets through a mixed strategy that can make us to be one of the largest exporters and producers of organic rice in Southeast Asia,” he noted.
In early June, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged rice farmers to abstain from using chemical fertilizers, arguing that Cambodian rice’s appeal abroad is that it is grown using organic techniques.
“Our paddy and milled rice are competitive within the Mekong sub-region. All countries in the Mekong sub-region produce similar types of rice – Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam all produce similar rice. Cambodia differentiates itself by not using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There is strong demand for milled rice without chemicals,” Mr Hun Sen said.
According to Mr Saran the loan will be used over a period of six to expand production in Preah Vihear, Battambang, Kampong Chnang, and Kampong Speu provinces to help farmers boost their output to 40,000 tonnes yearly by 2023.
He noted that the company began farming organic rice in 2013 and produced about 100 tonnes in 2014.
Amru Rice produced 11,000 tonnes last year.