With the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) ready to adopt “Angkor Malis” in June as the official brand name for the Kingdom’s premium varieties of jasmine rice, exporters said that inconsistent English to Khmer translations need to be corrected.
While the logo registers the product as Angkor in English, the word used in Khmer translates to jasmine, making it indistinguishable from other products, according to Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice.
He prefers the English packaging over the Khmer, but regardless of which name is used, it should be identical, he said.
“I welcome a brand name for our fragrant rice, but the meaning of the logo and name are different,” he said.
Moul Sarith, acting secretary-general for CRF, said the name Angkor Malis was selected after more than a year of close examination and numerous rounds of controlled impact studies.
“We decided that in English we would use Angkor because it was linked to our World Heritage site,” he said.
“Our market research experts concluded that Angkor scored much higher [than other names].”
He added that once the brand name receives trademark protection from the Ministry of Commerce, rice exporters will only be given licensing rights after they legally qualify.
“We have set up strict criteria for the usage of this brand name to make sure that the trademark is protected,” he said.
Eang Sophallet, spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, said the brand name should reflect the achievements Cambodian rice has won on the world circuit.
“We have won the rice award three years in a row, the brand name should show this because that is how we built our reputation,” he said.
Other concerns raised by exporters included the fact that CRF had yet to allocate a dedicated budget for marketing the new brand name.
“In order to promote Angkor Malis, we need money for marketing. Most of our clients know that Cambodia’s best rice is jasmine rice, but they have never heard of this new brand,” said Kann Kunthy, chief executive of Battambang rice miller Brico.
“If we can promote Angkor Malis the right way, our exports will increase,” he said, adding that the government of Thailand spent vast amounts of money on promotion to earn its place.
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