The Kingdom is seeking to diversify milled-rice export destination markets, placing a greater focus on China and ASEAN countries, according to Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) president Song Saran.

This comes amid a steady decline in Cambodian milled-rice exports to the EU, a result of skyrocketing sea freight rates in more than a year of the Covid-19 crisis.

Saran told The Post on July 7 that the government and the CRF have been eyeing Asian destinations, particularly mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, which he noted are collectively the largest market.

He added that Cambodia will continue to urge the Chinese side to increase its purchases of milled rice, and look into ramping up sales to ASEAN countries.

“The CRF will hold meetings with its members to devise strategies to compile into an upcoming plan – concerning paddy stocks and maintaining prices steady during the next harvest, as well as assisting members with working capital to buy paddy – to propose to the Royal Government of Cambodia for the sake of the entire Cambodian rice sector,” Saran said.

He said the “next big solution” is to assist and support millers with capital to buy paddy to ensure sufficient stocks for export in the second half of this year when the global shipping container shortage crisis is expected to normalise.

“As for maritime transport, the federation hopes that an appropriate solution to the transport crisis will be found, as major countries around the world begin to take action towards a resolution.”

In the first half of 2021, Cambodian milled-rice exports fell by 29.47 per cent year-on-year in volume, according to the CRF.

The Kingdom shipped a total of 280,450 tonnes of milled rice to 49 international markets over the January-June period, valued at $202.67 million.