Cambodia milled-rice export market is expected to widen next year after the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd (BoC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation and support tied to the upcoming 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) in November.

The MoU was signed on Friday between CRF president Song Saran and BoC Phnom Penh Branch representative Liu Zheng and aims to shore up the Kingdom’s rice industry. BoC is a subsidiary of the Chinese State-owned Bank of China Ltd.

Both parties will further strengthen cooperation between banks and enterprises, and “effectively and efficiently” provide services and financing for Cambodian companies that are interested in attending the CIIE.

As a “strategic partner”, BoC will actively provide comprehensive financial services to the corporate members of CRF as part of the greater CIIE project.

CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Sunday that through the MoU, the BoC would make it easier for CRF members to attend the CIIE, held in Shanghai, China from November 5-10.

He said the event is taken very seriously by the Chinese leadership, and stressed the importance for the Kingdom’s rice sector to capitalise on the opportunity and expand its export market.

“Every year at the event, CRF leaders meet Chinese vendors to discuss and sign supply agreements. This is an opportunity for exporters for the coming year,” Yeng said, adding that the CRF has signed MoUs and rice sale agreements at both prior iterations of the CIIE.

Cambodia exported 448,203 tonnes of milled rice to international markets in the first eight months of this year, an increase of more than 31.04 per cent compared to 342,045 tonnes in the same period last year.

The General Directorate of Agriculture reported this, citing data from the General Department of Customs and Excise that was extracted from phytosanitary certificates.

Yeng said the exports were worth between $298 and $300 million.

The directorate said jasmine and fragrant rice accounted for 352,802 tonnes, equivalent to 78.71 per cent of total milled-rice exports, while white long-grain rice accounted for 89,699 tonnes (20.01 per cent).

Long-grain parboiled rice accounted for 5,679 tonnes (1.27 per cent) and red rice 23 tonnes (0.01 per cent).

China topped the list of 59 destination markets for Cambodian milled rice with 159,253 tonnes imported (up 19.79 year-on-year), accounting for a 35.53 per cent market share.

Exports to Europe, ASEAN countries and other destinations reached 149,848 tonnes, 60,933 tonnes and 78,169 tonnes, up 24.81, 42.49 and 68.92 per cent year-on-year, accounting for 33.43, 13.59 and 17.44 per cent of total milled-rice exports for the period.

But milled-rice shipments slipped 34.97 per cent to 22,130 tonnes last month, from 34,032 tonnes in August last year.

The CRF attributed the drop in dry-season milled-rice exports to climate change and the rescheduled Khmer New Year holiday last month.