Cambodia exported 130,248 tonnes of milled rice in July-September valued at more than $81 million, representing a 42.95-per-cent rise in volume from the 91,115 tonnes posted in the same period last year, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) reported earlier this week.
Last month alone, the Kingdom shipped out 67,251 tonnes to the tune of $35.34 million, far exceeding the volumes recorded in the previous four Septembers: 49,776 tonnes (2017), 47,626 tonnes (2018), 56,541 tonnes (2019) and 40,572 tonnes (2020).
However, the total volume of milled-rice exports over January-September was 410,698 tonnes – valued at $283.69 million – decreasing by 15.97 per cent from 488,775 tonnes in the first nine months of 2020.
Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau were collectively the largest buyer of Cambodian milled rice over the period, accounting for 49.50 per cent, followed by the EU (26.91 per cent) and ASEAN (10.09 per cent), while other countries and territories bought 13.50 per cent.
Fragrant rice contributed the bulk of the exports at 69.71 per cent, followed by white rice (27.18 per cent), parboiled rice (1.71 per cent) and organic rice (1.41 per cent), the CRF said.
Milled-rice export volumes have been on a broad downward slide since the end of last year, a trend that the senior ranks of the CRF and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries ascribe to a lack of containers and rising shipping costs, especially to destinations in Europe.
CRF vice-president Chan Sokheang affirmed that international shipping rates had skyrocketed since the beginning of Covid, especially from November, posing major headwinds to 2021 milled-rice export targets.
As of September 30, milled-rice exports were at 51.34 per cent of the CRF’s 800,000-tonne target for this year set at the end of 2020. The federation’s chief Song Saran has conceded that the target would likely not be achieved, despite rising exports to China.
Sokheang told The Post that the transport sector by and large recognises the shortage of containers as the main driver of shipping prices.
Last year, the Kingdom exported 690,829 tonnes of milled rice, valued at nearly $539 million, marking an 11.40 per cent surge in volume from 2019, according to the ministry's statistics.