Cambodia has garnered over $1.2 billion from exporting milled and paddy rice to 59 destinations, predominantly in China, the EU and ASEAN nations, despite a regional and global economic deceleration. The industrial sector suggests a continued surge in food demand, according to the Kingdom’s apex rice group.

The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) reported on November 9 that 76% of the annual target of 700,000 tonnes of rice had been exported within the first ten months of 2023. This amounted to approximately 530,000 tonnes valued at $377.5 million and facilitated by 57 exporters.

The exports included 177,285 tonnes worth $115.30 million to China and its autonomous regions, 217,068 tonnes valued at $155.58 million to 26 EU countries, 62,492 tonnes at $42.32 million to six ASEAN members and 73,079 tonnes totalling $64.30 million to a further 25 destinations including Africa and the Middle-East.

October 2023 saw Cambodia’s first exports of milled rice to Indonesia totalling 6,500 tonnes worth $4.22 million, with 3,500 tonnes already delivered.

Exports of the commodity were dominated by fragrant rice at 81.79%, followed by white rice at 13.3%, parboiled rice at 3.24%, organic rice at 1.65% and Japonica at a mere 0.01%.

3,308,648 tonnes of paddy rice valued at $862.46 million were exported to neighbouring countries, 60% of which were conducted through official channels with the requisite official export documentation.

Chan Sokheang, president of the CRF, noted an increasing volume of orders in spite of the sluggish global economy, with a significant rise in demand from the European market this year.

“We’ve exported around 530,000 tonnes in the last ten months. In particular, exports of white rice have significantly increased. The European market has shown a robust appetite and we anticipate greater exports to the Chinese market in the upcoming season,” he stated.

He said that substantial paddy rice exports to neighbouring countries have also impacted the sector.

Song Saran, president of Amru Rice (Cambodia), a leading rice miller and exporter, noted his company’s focus on aromatic and organic rice.

“Our exports are primarily directed to EU, Chinese, US and other ASEAN markets, with a specialisation in aromatic and organic rice,” he explained.

Cambodia made its first shipment of milled rice to Indonesia on November 2, marking an important milestone in the country’s export sector and its penetration into one of ASEAN’s most populous markets. The 3500-tonne shipment was received with a ceremonial welcome at Tanjung Emas Harbor in Semarang City, Central Java.

The CRF is currently in talks with Muller Commodities General Trading Ltd to expand milled rice exports into Middle-Eastern markets. Sokheang anticipates the company will purchase around 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes of fragrant rice annually.

Sen Kra-ob (SKO), a Cambodian fragrant rice variety, was awarded gold status at the 1st China-ASEAN Taste Quality Appraisal in China on October 28, as per the CRF.