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Rice exports to resume

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Workers preparing rice for export to foreign market. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government announced yesterday the private sector can resume the export of white rice to the international market on May 20 – one month after imposing an export ban – according to the Minister of Economy and Finance.

The announcement was signed by Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth who stated that, based on a request

from the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), the government is now resuming the export of white rice in order to facilitate agreements with foreign countries from May 20.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen, in late March, ordered the ban for all exports of white rice and paddy from April 5 until further notice. The decision was made to safeguard local supply in response to COVID-19 food shortage fears.

“Starting from April 5, we will not allow the export of any white rice or paddy to the international market. This is because we want to keep the supply for domestic demand. However, fragrant rice can be exported normally,” Mr Hun Sen said.

Over the past few weeks, the CRF has been requesting the government to revise the ban of white rice exports “as soon as possible”, so rice millers could clear old stock and pay back debt owed to paddy farmers.

Rice millers had also been concerned that an oversupply would occur and they would not be ready to buy paddy during the early July harvest.

“We have studied the current business situation and necessary measures during the outbreak of the COVID-19 situation,” the Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmonirath said when responding to why the government reversed the ban.

Hun Lak, chairman of CRF, told Khmer Times that he welcomed the government’s move and that Cambodia now has a food safety net.

Rice millers working at a factory silo can resume international exports from May 20. KT/Pann Rachana

“We now have enough rice and paddy to supply the domestic market. From April until now we exported on average 70,000 tonnes of rice per month, with 85 percent of this being fragrant rice, while white rice has been the other 15 percent,” he said, CRF President Song Saran said the current storage capacity of rice mills in Cambodia is running at 1.9 million tonnes per season, with silo capacity at approximately 45,000 tonnes per day.

“With the current COVID-19 situation, some of the by-products of rice have also been blocked. For example, rice bran cannot be exported. CRF is now requesting the government exempt the withholding of tax for transport of paddy and milled rice, especially, withholding tax on warehoused rents and private truck transport because this has been a burden for the mill-stunted corn.”

The federation also requested the government allocate an additional $30 million to the existing $50 million rice fund that is now totalling about $200 million, to assist millers in buying around 800,000 tonnes of paddy.

From January to April this year, Cambodia’s rice exports to China were 122,094 tonnes (41 percent), to the European Union 97,337 tonnes (32.4 percent), to Asean members 37,428 tonnes (12.5 percent) and to other destinations 43,393 tonnes (14.45 percent).

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen, in late March, ordered the ban for all exports of white rice and paddy from April 5 until further notice. The decision was made to safeguard local supply in response to COVID-19 food shortage fears.

“Starting from April 5, we will not allow the export of any white rice or paddy to the international market. This is because we want to keep the supply for domestic demand. However, fragrant rice can be exported normally,” Mr Hun Sen said.

Over the past few weeks, the CRF has been requesting the government to revise the ban of white rice exports “as soon as possible”, so rice millers could clear old stock and pay back debt owed to paddy farmers.

Rice millers had also been concerned that an oversupply would occur and they would not be ready to buy paddy during the early July harvest.

“We have studied the current business situation and necessary measures during the outbreak of the COVID-19 situation,” the Minister Pornmoniroth said when responding to why the government reversed the ban.

Hun Lak, chairman of the CRF, told Khmer Times that he welcomed the government’s move and that Cambodia now has a food safety net.

“We now have enough rice and paddy to supply the domestic market. From April until now we exported on average 70,000 tonnes of rice per month, with 85 percent of this being fragrant rice, while white rice has made up the other 15 percent,” he said,

CRF President Song Saran said the current storage capacity of rice mills in Cambodia is running at 1.9 million tonnes per season, with silo capacity at approximately 45,000 tonnes per day.

“With the current COVID-19 situation, some of the by-products of rice have also been blocked. For example, rice bran cannot be exported. CRF is now requesting the government exempt the withholding of tax for the transport of paddy and milled rice, especially, withholding tax on warehouse rents and private truck transport because this has been a burden for the mill-stunted corn.”

The federation also requested the government allocate an additional $30 million to the existing $50 million rice fund that is now totalling about $200 million, to assist millers in buying around 800,000 tonnes of paddy.

From January to April this year, Cambodia’s rice exports to China were 122,094 tonnes (41 percent), to the European Union 97,337 tonnes (32.4 percent), to Asean members 37,428 tonnes (12.5 percent) and to other destinations 43,393 tonnes (about14 percent).

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