November 23, 2011

Flood devastation tests Cambodia's rice supply capacity: PM


PHNOM PENH, Nov. 23 -- Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday this year's flood devastation was a major test for Cambodia's rice export capacity of one million tons by 2015.

He said that the recent flooding was more serious than that in 2000 and it had completely destroyed 190,000 hectares of rice paddies, or eight percent of this year's rice paddies production, according to the updated figure.

"With this damage, if, this year's harvest, we still have the rice paddy surplus of between three and four million tons left for exports, it means that the floods will not affect our scheme to export one million tons of milled rice by 2015," he said during the 16th Government-Private Sector Forum.

Floods in some rice producing countries have driven up the prices of rice on international markets and it is an opportunity for Cambodia, he said, adding that the country expected to export about 180,000 tons of milled rice in 2011.

Currently, Cambodia's milled rice has been exported mostly to the European countries -- a high risk for Cambodia's rice industry, he said, advising the Commerce Ministry to seek its talks with the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries as well as Africa for the exports.

Meanwhile, the premier called for more investment in post- harvest technology to improve the quality of processed rice.

Cambodia aimed at becoming one of the key rice exporters by 2015 by exporting at least of one million tons of rice in that year.

The country 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 the small amount of its milled rice due to the lack of sophisticated post-harvesting technology.

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