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Cambodia exports almost 1 million tonnes of rice paddy to Vietnam in six months

Sorn Sarath / Khmer Times Share:
Rice paddy farmers in their field at Krang Samrer village in Phnom Sruoch distict in Kampong Speu province, 65 kilometres west of Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Nearly 1 million tonnes of rice paddy were exported from Cambodia to Vietnam from January to June this year, with exporters claiming that the COVID-19 virus will not affect the Kingdom’s rice export industry.

According to the Ministry’s Agriculture Department Cambodia officially exported 921,047 tonnes of rice paddy to Vietnam from January 1 to June 9.

Most originated from the provinces of Kandal, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Battambang and Kampot.

Minister of Agriculture, Veng Sakhon, told Khmer Times yesterday that Prey Veng is the number one province for rice paddy production, experiencing a “very large” increase over the last 10 years, followed by Battambang province.

The minister said for the 2019-2020 harvest Cambodia produced 10,880,000 tonnes of rice paddy with a surplus of 5,760,000 tonnes.

“These figures show that we don’t want to stop exports to Vietnam, because our farmers will lack a market. Last season Cambodia was estimated to export more than 2 million tonnes of rice paddy to Vietnam,” he said.

Secretary-General of Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) Lun Yeng said: “Farmers could earn more revenue because they can export more rice paddy. When we export more it means that we have rice surplus in stock,” he said.

“We also have milled rice exports which are mainly focused on fragrant and premium rice.”

According to Yeng most of the rice paddy exported to Vietnam is also short-time-growth rice that can take just three months to mature.

“Short-time-growing-rice is not our target for processing for export but we encourage farmers to export it because it helps farmers to generate more income and working capital,” he said.

Yeng said that so far most of Cambodia’s rice exports to Vietnam have not been officially recorded and are already estimated to be about 2 million tonnes by the end of this year.

He said the price offered by Vietnam traders and local is the same but because of the transportation costs, farmers prefer to send to nearby Vietnam.

Cambodia has never imported rice paddy directly from Vietnam because we are just a small rice miller, he added.

According to the CRF’s figures, Cambodia exported a total of 230,948 tonnes of rice to the international market in the first three months of 2020, a 35 percent hike on the same period last year.

The figure shows that this first quarter, 44 percent of Cambodia’s milled rice was shipped to China (a total of 101,345 tonnes.

Yeng said China and the European Union market are still the most profitable for Cambodian rice farmers.

“The two markets are like both our hands,” Yeng explained.

“We see the rate exports to the Euopean Union are high but the quantity is smaller than to China, so both are important for our market,” he added.

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