Milled rice exports soared by 3.2 percent last year, CRF says
Milled rice is exported to 59 countries. Of these, China remains the largest buyer of Cambodian rice. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Milled rice export from Cambodia increased by 3.2 percent to 637,004 tons in 2022 compared with 617,069 tons shipped across the world in 2021, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF). The export of the commodity garnered $414.29 million for the country, the federation said on Tuesday.

The milled rice was exported by 61 Cambodian rice exporters to 59 countries. Of these, China remained the largest buyer of Cambodian rice (288,830 tons) and accounted for 45 percent of the total export for the year.

After China, 25 European countries together bought 221,504 tons or 35 percent of the total milled rice shipped from Cambodia. Four ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states bought around 10 percent (64,733 tons) of Cambodian rice. And the rest 10 percent (61,937 tons) were delivered to 27 countries, including the United States of America, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, and several African nations, among others.

Among ASEAN member states, Malaysia imported 45, 789 tons, Brunei 14,112 tons, Singapore 3,808 tons and Vietnam 1,024 tons of Cambodian milled rice in 2022

For the country that has set itself a target of exporting one million tons of milled rice from this year onwards, the shipment seems to have reached a plateau. But for 2020 in the last six years when the export touched a new high of 690,829 tons, the shipment figures have been oscillating around 630,000 tons.

While 635,679 tons were exported in 2017, the amount declined to 626,225 tons in 2018. In 2019 when Covid-19 broke out, the total milled rice export figure came down to 620,106 tons, only to record a leap of 70,723 tons of additional shipments in 2020.

In 2021, the shipment from the Southeast Asian nation declined to 617,069 tons, even below the 2019 figure. And this year it is back to a figure which is closer to the 2017 data.

At 277,739 tons, premium aromatic rice of Cambodia led from the front and accounted for 44 percent of the total shipment, according to the CRF data shared with Khmer Times. Over 179,070 tons of fragrant rice (Sen Kra-Ob) were bought by international clients and it accounted for 28 percent of the total export. White rice accounted for 24 percent or 153,428 tons, parboiled rice about 2 percent or 15,781 tons, organic rice less than 2 percent or about 10,963 tons, and glutinous rice 23 tons, said the federation.

The Kingdom also exported 3,477,886 tons of paddy, worth $841.09 million, to the neighbouring country of Vietnam in the year, the CRF release added.

On China being a huge market for the country’s potential agricultural products, Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina has been quoted by Xinhua as saying that the kingdom hoped to export more to China under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA). “Cambodia and China have solid agricultural cooperation, and we have exported milled rice, mangoes, bananas, and, most recently, longans to China,” he told Xinhua.

In an effort to increase milled rice shipment, the government has sought to open new markets through free-trade agreements, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA), and several memoranda of understanding (MoUs), the CRF, a government-recognised organisation, told Khmer Times earlier.

Agriculture is one of the major contributors to the Cambodian economy. The sector contributed 24.4 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. In 2021, production of paddy was 12.2 million tons, which was a rise of 11.6 percent over 2020, it said.

In 2019, agriculture accounted for 31.2 percent of jobs and 20.7 percent of GDP. Rice accounts for around half of the agricultures contribution to the GDP.

Date: 05-Jan-2023