Kunthy was commenting on a report from the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export which said in the first 10 months of 2018, Cambodia exported 434,807 tonnes of rice, compared to 492,115 tonnes over the same period in 2017.
Meanwhile, China remained the country that imported the largest portion of rice from Cambodia, or 110,000 tonnes, France 60,000 tonnes and Malaysia 30,000 tonnes. “We use dollar for the rice export and the trade war between the US and China has inflated the Chinese currency by 10%, making it expensive for China to buy rice from us," the Khmer Timeson Wednesday quoted him as saying.
“The decline was mostly on the white rice export due to high prices and altogether Vietnam bought a lot of rice from Cambodia. Then the EU is now buying rice from Myanmar. It is all related to international politics,” he added. However, he said his company’s rice export was stable, sending 5,000 tonnes of milled rice abroad.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, said a combination of factors led to the decrease in rice exports. Lak said high production costs, coupled with a lack of budget to purchase rice for storage in warehouses for processing; adding that Cambodian millers do not have enough rice to process for export impacted the export figures.
“The merchants from the neighbouring countries came and purchased rice (unprocessed rice) from farmers who were happy to sell their products because they want quick money after the harvest.
“We need a precise mechanism and we need to cooperate with the stakeholders to stabilise milled rice export,” Lak said.
According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cambodia exported 389,264 tonnes of rice in the first nine months of 2018, a drop of 8.4% from last year. China continues to be Cambodia’s top export market.