Iran has voiced an interest in buying Cambodian agricultural products for domestic consumption and re-export, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on December 3.
The remark comes after Sorphorn met Iranian ambassador to Thailand Seyed Reza Nobakhti that morning.
“The Iranian ambassador told me that Iran wants to buy milled rice, mango and cassava to supply the market of 84 million people.
“I’ve already assigned our trade attache here [in Thailand] to work closely with their trade officials and report to our Ministry [of Commerce].
“This’ll be great for expanding our agricultural product exports to other markets, in line with the government’s market diversification policy,” he said.
He said the trade teams of both embassies are discussing the products and volumes to be shipped and will report to their respective commerce ministries following the talks.
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) vice-president Chan Sokheang told The Post that the Kingdom’s milled-rice exports to the Middle East remain relatively low.
But the growing populations and untapped markets in West Asia bring expansion opportunities for the Kingdom’s milled-rice exporters.
“As potential destinations for our fragrant rice, we welcome the chance to boost our exports to Iran and the [neighbouring] Arab countries,” he said.
Excluding Cyprus and the Caucasus, the population of West Asia was around 272 million in 2008, and could reach 370 million by 2030, according to British economist Angus Maddison.
This represents a 1.4 per cent annual growth rate (or a 50-year doubling time) that far outstrips the global 0.9 per cent average (or 75-year doubling time), he said.
Cambodia exported 601,045 tonnes of milled rice in the first 11 months of this year, up 16.9 per cent compared to 514,149 tonnes in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The CRF pointed out that the exports were valued at $415 million, which was up by $43 million (or nearly 12 per cent) over the year-ago period.
Ministry statistics show that China took in the lion’s share of 39.09 per cent, or 234,940 tonnes, while second-ranked Europe absorbed a 31.35 per cent market share, or 188,436 tonnes.
The Kingdom exported 90,801 tonnes of fresh mango during the period, surging 83.50 per cent year-on-year, while shipments of its dehydrated products stood at 5,755 tonnes, representing a sharp 159.60 per cent rise, the data show.