Cambodia’s milled rice exports have increased compared with the same period last year, with China still the biggest importer of Cambodian grain.
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Nearly 70 countries have been importing Cambodian rice, while China is the largest buyer with more than 120,000 tonnes of rice, followed by France with over 50,000 tonnes and Poland with 35,000 tonnes, according to the latest report from the secretariat of the One Window Service for Rice Export Formality.
The report indicates that from January to September 2017, Cambodia exported 421,966 tonnes of milled rice, an increase of 16.70 percent compared with the 361,505 tonnes exported in the same period last year, according to the report.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Laos in September last year, agreed to double China’s annual purchase of 100,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice to 200,000 tons, starting from next year.
Cambodia set to meet the quota of exporting 200,000 tonnes of milled rice to China by the end of this year, while the Chinese government plans to import 300,000 tonnes of rice from Cambodia next year.
Hean Vanhan, the director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ General Directorate of Agriculture, said the trend of rising exports is expected to continue as Cambodia seeks to expand its reach.
“We have a target of one million tonnes to export, so we have to seek and open more markets,” he said. “We cannot depend on only China’s market alone.”
Based on current growth, Cambodia will reach 600,000 tonnes of exported milled rice for 2017, Mr Vanhan said, noting China will be the top buyer.
Hun Lak, the vice-president of the Cambodian Rice Federation, said the figure of 200,000 tonnes to China will be reached.
“It may even be over the set quota, because from July on is the rainy season and rice harvests and prices will increase, which will benefit farmers and rice millers,” he said.
In 2016, Cambodia exported about 542,144 tonnes of rice to international markets, while the government plans to boost rice exports to one million tonnes per year.