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Cambodian rice exports burdened by power and transport costs

Sorn Sarath / Khmer Times Share:
Rice workers in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Ministry of Commerce and Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) are continuing working to solve the long-running challenges of the Kingdom’s high cost of electricity and transportation in order to boost the country’s rice industry.

The meeting by the ministry with participants from concerned parties such as the CRF and Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain Programme (CAVAC) to discuss and examine the Rice Export Cost Study (RECS) which found that the high cost of electricity and transportation have remained big obstacles for the industry.

Sok Sopheak, the Ministry of Commerce’s secretary of state, who chaired the meeting, has urged relevant parties both private and state, to continue cooperating and working together to solve issues in the rice sector.

The Ministry said that the main challenges for Cambodia rice exports include the high cost of electricity, the high cost of transportation, fee costs at ports and the cost of shipping from ports to the destinations.

However, Lun Yeng, CRF’s secretary-general, said the challenges for the country’s rice sector are not new.

“The high cost of electricity and transportation have remained for a long time even though the government has lowered some price, they are still higher than neighbouring countries, so we find it hard to compete in the export market,” he said.

He said while the private sector is increasing its own ebnergy supply by installing solar power, the government has not supported this approach. “What the private sector really needd from the government is to lower electricity costs,” he said.

However, Yeng expressed optimism that Cambodia’s rice exports would keep growing because of high demand in the global market, which has adversely affected bt the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cambodia exported a total 230,948 tonnes of rice to the international markets in the first quarter of this year, a 35 percent hike on the same three months last year, according to a report from the CRF.

The CRF’s report shows that of this figures, 44 percent of Cambodia’s milled rice was shipped to China, amounting to 101,345 tonnes. This represents a 35 percent increase on the same period last year.

The RECS project has been proposed by the Ministry of Commerce under financial and technical support by CAVAC to fact-finding the main challenges and strengths of the Kingdom’s competitiveness thein rice sector, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The study focused on Cambodia’s competitiveness in rice sector, analysing on production chain starting from cultivation, drying, milling and on to export, which also include transportation and document processing for exports to the target markets in the EU and other countries.

According to the Ministry, the result of this study will be submitted to the private sector and concerned ministries.

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