40% rise in rice export to Europe likely in 2023
Twenty European countries accounted for 48 percent of the total milled rice exported by Cambodia this January alone. KT/Chor Sokunthea
European countries have emerged as the main buyers of Cambodian milled rice in January 2023, and the Kingdom is expecting an increase in shipment of the commodity this year.
Deciphering the January export data, Chan Sokheang, President of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), told Khmer Times, “We are expecting an increase of approximately 35-40 percent in rice exports to the European market in 2023.”
Twenty European countries accounted for around 48 percent of the total milled rice exported by Cambodia this January. They together imported 17,795 tons of Cambodian rice, worth more than $13.44 million, according to the CRF.
Sokheang said, “The European market has now started to recognise the quality and the consistency of quality of the rice, we are shipping to them. I think a lot of Asian people are now living in European countries and they have started liking Cambodian rice.
“We have good quality and aroma, and we comply with the chemical residue standards of Europe.”
After staying around 203,280 tons in 2019 and about 203,861 tons in 2020, the rice export to Europe declined to 168,063 tons in 2021 only to jump back to 221,709 in the previous year.
Among European countries, France imported 6,170 tons of rice worth over $4.11 million, the Netherlands 2,357 tons valued at $2.31 million, the Czech Republic 2,287 tons, the United Kingdom 1,669 tons, Spain 1,137 tons, Germany 1,064 tons, Italy 1,011 tons, Portugal 494 tons and Greece 323 tons.
In January, more than 36,900 tons of milled rice, worth around $28.83 million, were shipped to global buyers by Cambodia.
China (including Hong Kong and Macau), figured behind Europe in terms of the import of Cambodian rice. At 15,045 tons, it accounted for 41 percent of the total rice export from Cambodia, earning approximately $11.50 million, in January.
The apex body of rice millers and exporters attributed the “slight drop” in rice imports by China to the New Year holidays.
“We witnessed a slowdown in the export because they (Chinese) had the New Year in very early January. As is the culture of business operations in China, they take (a break of) two weeks before and two weeks after the Chinese New Year. You cannot expect any deal (during that period),” said the CRF president.
“In February, the Chinese market has started to come back,” he remarked.
During January, the Cambodian milled rice was shipped to 34 countries. Countries like the US, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Gabon purchased around 2,189 tons of rice valued at $2.53 million, according to a CRF stats.
Among ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, Malaysia and Singapore together bought 1,871 tons worth $1.09 million of milled rice from the Kingdom. Of this, import by Malaysia was 1,748 tons.
In the first month of 2023, Cambodia earned $92 million in revenue from the export of milled rice and paddy. The Kingdom also exported around 252,714 tons of paddy to neighbouring countries, the rice federation said.
According to the CRF, of all the rice varieties produced in the country, the premium aromatic rice (Malys Angkor) accounted for 22,810 tons of export in January, followed by Sen Kra Ob (9,359 tons), premium white rice (1,721 tons), parboiled rice (1,867 tons) and organic milled rice (1,144 tons).
Cambodia, which has set a rice export target of 1 million tons in the coming years, in 2022 shipped 637,004 tons of milled rice to 59 international destinations and earned $414 million in revenue. The export of the commodity was 3.2 percent more than the 617,069 tons shipped in the previous year, according to CRF data.
The country plans to earn revenue of around $800 million per year from the export of milled rice, and over $1 billion from value-added products made from rice.
In an attempt to reach the 1 million tons export target, the country that aims to emerge as the “rice basket” will have to almost double the 2022 figure for the shipment of milled rice. On its part, the rice federation will encourage farmers to increase farm output, particularly of the fragrant rice that has higher market demand and fetches good prices.
According to the CRF, the Cambodian government has sought to open new markets through free-trade agreements (FTAs), the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA), and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with several countries.
Exported milled rice varieties in 2022 included premium aromatic rice, fragrant rice, long grain white rice, parboiled rice, organic rice, and glutinous rice, said CRF, the government-recognised organisation.
Agriculture, one of the key pillars of the Cambodian economy, contributed 24.4 percent to the gross domestic product in 2021, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Date: 16-Feb-2023