January 13, 2012

Milled-rice exports grew 150% in 2011


Milled-rice exports from Cambodia’s largest millers’ association had a 150 per cent year-on-year increase in 2011.

The Federation of Cambodian Rice Millers (FCRMA), the Kingdom’s biggest exporter of milled rice, shipped about 100,000 tonnes of the processed grain to the European Union and some Asian countries last year, association president Phou Puy said yesterday.

At US$900 to $1,000 a tonne, according to association officials, the trade was worth about $95 million.

A higher level of compliance among member millers, as well as increased access to credit, accounted for the jump from 40,000 tonnes exported last year, Phou Puy said.

“We urged rice millers to comply with export standards,” he said.

“Loans provided by state and private banks were on the rise and enabled the federation to get more access [to credit] to buy rice to export.”

FCRMA’s milled-rice exports in 2012 would grow between 20 and 30 per cent compared with 2011, Phou Puy said.

The association exports the vast majority of the country’s milled rice. Cambodia exported 136,013 tonnes of milled rice through November, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Difficulty in accessing the capital needed to purchase paddy, however, was still hindering Cambodia’s export potential, millers said.

Oeung Vannmao, a rice-mill owner in Banteay Meanchey province and a member of FCRMA, said he could not export overseas directly because he could not get credit and lacked technical skills.

“I want to export, but it is impossible because my business is small and I lack capital,” he said.

Phou Puy agreed that the sector faced problems.

Farming skill levels were low and resulted in low-quality grain, he said. Many farmers were in dire need of capital for farming inputs and some also lacked the space to stock their yields, he added.

Last year’s rising exports were a result of the government’s target of exporting a million tonnes of milled rice by 2015, Son Koun Thor, head of the Rural Development Bank said.

“To help the sector, the RDB has loaned some $56 million in 2011—of which some amount was offered to rice millings,” he said.

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