The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) will host a celebration of gaining access to the "valuable" export market of the Philippines on June 26 at the Ministry of Commerce.

The occasion will be presided over by commerce minister Pan Sorasak and Philippine ambassador to Cambodia Amelita Aquino.

The CRF announced that the celebrations mark the export of 2,575 tonnes of Cambodian rice to the archipelagic nation in May.

“The first exports of milled rice exports to the Philippines are one of our success stories when it comes to accessing new markets. It is important to emphasise that the Philippines imports almost four million tonnes of milled rice each year,” it added.

In early February, a Cambodian delegation from the commerce ministry and the CRF travelled to the Philippines to study the milled rice market. During the visit, it was agreed in principle that the two countries would sign a state-to-state memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the trade of milled rice. It is hoped that the MoU will be signed soon.

CRF president Chan Sokheang explained that the Philippines is not only a rice producer but also a major importer. In 2022, the Philippines imported 3.82 million tonnes of milled rice.

He added that the CRF is aiming to take a market share of about 100,000 tonnes.

“In the past two years, Cambodia only exported about 100 tonnes, as the market is very competitive. The CRF is in talks with shipping companies on how to reduce costs to boost exports,” he said.

“We are looking at the possibility of exporting up to 100,000 tonnes a year. The reason we did not previously export to the Philippines is because the market is so competitive. Even Thailand imports very little to the Philippines,” he added.