September 16, 2011

Cambodia's rice exports decline 10 pct in 8 months


PHNOM PENH, Sept. 15 -- Cambodia had exported 105,400 tons of milled rice in the first eight months of this year, decreasing 10 percent from the 117,180 tons it exported in the same period last year, according to statistics from the country's Ministry of Commerce on Thursday.

Despite the drop in the exported quantity, the revenues had increased sharply to about 59.7 million U.S. dollars within the first eight months of this year, up 204 percent from 19.6 million U.S. dollars in the same period last year, said the report.

"The decline of rice export this year is due to soaring prices of rice on international market in combination with the debt crisis in the United States and Europe that reduces purchase power, " Kong Putheara, director of the Commerce Ministry's Statistics Department, said Thursday.

He said most of Cambodian milled rice has been exported to European markets and the United States and the country has been trying to diversify its exports to Asian countries, especially China.

Cambodia has 3.9 million tons of rice paddies, in equivalent to 2.5 million tons of milled rice, left over for exports this year, according to the government report.

However, this country can export only a small amount of its milled rice due to the lack of sophisticated post-harvesting technology.

The country is seeking the investments of roughly 350 million U. S. dollars for hi-tech post harvest technology and for purchasing rice paddies from farmers for processing in order to achieve its self-imposed target of one-million-ton rice exports by 2015.

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