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Rice exports continue to fall

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
People move sacs of rice in a warehouse in Phnom Penh. KT/Mai Vireak

Cambodia’s rice export fell 13.20 percent in the first ten months of 2018 due to two factors, the European Union stopped buying Cambodian rice and the 300,000 tonnes quota to China was not fulfilled, said Kann Kunthy, vice president and managing director of Amru Rice Cambodia.

Mr Kunthy was commenting on a report from the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export which said in the first ten months (January-October) 2018, Cambodia exported 434,807 tonnes of rice, compared to 492,115 tonnes over the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile, China remained the country that imported the largest portion of rice from Cambodia, or 110,000 tons, France 60,000 tonnes and Malaysia 30,000 tonnes.

“We use dollar for the rice export and the trade war between the US and China has inflated the Chinese currency by 10 percent, making it expensive for China to buy rice from us.

“The decline was mostly on the white rice export due to high prices and altogether Vietnam bought a lot of rice from Cambodia. Then the EU is now buying rice from Myanmar. It is all related to international politics,” Mr Kunthy said.

However, he said his company’s rice export was stable, sending 5,000 tonnes of milled rice abroad.

Hun Lak, vice president of Cambodia Rice Federation said a combination of factors led to the decrease in rice exports.

Mr Lak said high production costs, coupled with a lack of budget to purchase rice for storage in warehouses for processing; adding that Cambodian millers do not have enough rice to process for export impacted the export figures.

“The merchants from the neighboring countries came and purchased rice (unprocessed rice) from farmers who were happy to sell their products because they want quick money after the harvest.

“We need a precise mechanism and we need to cooperate with the stakeholders to stabilize milled rice export,” Mr Lak said.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cambodia exported 389,264 tonnes of rice in the first nine months of 2018, a drop of 8.4 percent from last year. China continues to be Cambodia’s top export market.

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