Cambodia’s milled rice exports to the European Union (EU), which takes the current largest market share of the Kingdom’s rice, saw a more than 20 per cent decrease in January compared with the same period last year, data from the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF)shows.
In the first month of the year, the Kingdom sent a total 50,450 tonnes abroad, a 15 per cent decrease, generating $39 million in revenue. Of that, 91 per cent was fragrant rice and the rest was long grain white rice.
In its report released this week, the CRF said the EU remains the main source of Cambodian rice exports, representing 37 per cent of the total, followed by China (30 percent), Asean (11 percent). Other destinations take the remainder.
In terms of weight, the EU market decreased by 5,269 tonnes, accounting for 22 per cent. It is being blamed on measures imposed on rice from Cambodia that it says are hurting farmers in Europe.
The EU imposed a $199.50 a tonne levy in 2019. CRF Secretary-General Lun Yeng said that Cambodian rice would enjoy a slight increase in sales in the European bloc this year, because the tariff will stand at $170 per tonne, which is lower than 2019. There will also be a levy in 2021.
He said Cambodian rice still sells well in the Asan market well and remained stable in Malaysia and Brunei, while Gabon and Australia saw a notable increase in exporting milled rice from Cambodia.
Currently the Kingdom benefits from a preferential trade deal with the EU known as Everything but Arms (EBA) but there are fears this will be withdrawn later this month amid allegations of human rights breaches.
The EU imposed duties on Cambodian rice in order to protect domestic producers. This has been acutely felt by most of the 500,000 families in Cambodia who eke out a living farming jasmine and fragrant long-grain rice, even though these varieties are geographically specific and do not compete directly with products grown in the EU,” the CRF said in a statement last August.
Some 7.9 million tonnes of wet season paddy rice were harvested in 2019 while the milled rice exports were reported at 620,106 tonnes, registering a year-on-year decrease of about 1 percent. Of that export amount, it saw about a 24 per cent decrease in the EU market last year.