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PM seeks Philippine boost to Cambodia’s rice sector

Tom Starkey / Khmer Times Share:
Mr Hun Sen made the rice request when receiving newly appointed Ambassador of the Philippines to Cambodia Maria Amelita C. Aquino at the Peace Palace yesterday morning. Supplied

Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked the Philippines to consider buying more Cambodian rice or investing in the rice sector here.

The Prime Minister made the request when receiving the newly appointed Ambassador of the Philippines to Cambodia Maria Amelita C. Aquino at the Peace Palace yesterday, according to his assistant, Eang Sophalleth.

Mr Hun Sen is reported to have told the ambassador that the Kingdom has a surplus of some 6 million tonnes of rice per year and therefore requested the Philippines to look into the possibility of importing Cambodian rice.

He also suggested that Philippine interests could invest in the development of Cambodia’s rice sector by building rice mills and warehouses, as well as by setting up a network to buy rice for export to regional neighbours.

In response, Ambassador Aquino briefed the prime minister on the rice market in the Philippines and pledged to encourage investors to invest in Cambodia’s rice sector. Cambodia exported around 750,000 tonnes of milled rice in 2020, according to a senior executive at the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).

During its annual rice export announcement, President of the CRF, Song Saran, said that demand for Cambodian rice in the global market is increasing.

“Although droughts and flash-flooding affected production, exports rebounded by the end of October when farmers started harvesting again,” Saran said.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said on Monday that Cambodian rice exports in the first 11 months of 2020 rose 16.9 percent over 2019 results, reaching 601,045 tonnes.

He added that more than 481,000 tonnes of the exports were fragrant rice, 113,703 tonnes were white rice varieties and around 6,151 tonnes were parboiled rice.

“More than 60 countries ordered rice from Cambodia in the first 11 months of 2020. This included 24 out of the 27 countries in the European Union, China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), six ASEAN members and 29 other countries,” Sakhon said.

According to Sakhon, between January and November, around 234,940 tonnes (39.09 percent) were exported to China, 188,436 tonnes (31.35 percent) were sent to the EU, 78,208 tonnes (13.01 percent) went to ASEAN countries and 99,461 tonnes (16.55 percent) were sent to 29 other countries.

“In November alone, Cambodia exported about 64,740 tonnes of milled rice,” he added.

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