Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Paddy exports rocket in 2021 as milled rice underperforms

Paddy exports rocket in 2021 as milled rice underperforms

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia exported 3.53 million tonnes of paddy rice to neighbouring countries in 2021, up 61.16 per cent over a year earlier. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Paddy exports rocket in 2021 as milled rice underperforms

Officially reported milled-rice exports in 2021 declined by more than 10 per cent over a year earlier, as shipments of paddy abroad surged by over 60 per cent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The ministry said in a statement on January 11 that the 2021 harvest was nearly completed with rice production to date topping 12.21 million tonnes, up by about 11.6 per cent year-on-year.

In 2021, official milled-rice exports reached 617,000 tonnes, rising by 10.68 per cent from 2020, and paddy sales to neighbouring countries stood at 3.53 million tonnes, ticking up 61.16 per cent year-on-year, it said. Exports of both categories combined rose by 50.9 per cent last year, topping the four-million tonne mark.

At the same time, 2021 paddy prices were around 95 per cent of 2018-2019 rates and slightly below 2020 levels – and even lower for the current monsoon-season crop– which the ministry attributed to the global Covid-19 crisis.

The pandemic led to a sharp decline in international milled-rice prices, with fragrant varieties plunging by as much as 20-25 per cent, which resulted in losses for mills, prompting them to cut down on paddy purchases, it explained.

Cambodia Rice Federation president Song Saran told The Post on January 12, that Covid shocks throughout 2021 hindered rice transport for export to international markets, save for Vietnam, which enjoyed a substantial upswing due to the convenience of its proximity.

Similarly,milled-rice exports to China rose due to the country’s proximity and ease of transportation, whereas shipments to more distant markets such as the EU slowed down significantly, he said.

“The decline in [milled-] rice exports is due to transportation factors, which will require us to turn to markets that are easier to transport to. On the other hand, an increase in shipping costs has meant trouble for long-distance routes, making transport more time-consuming and expensive,” Saran said.

But these transport woes are not exclusive to Cambodia, many countries locked down their economies in a bid to combat Covid-19, triggering a worrisome driver shortage around the world, he said.

The ministry noted that farmers have voiced concerns over the price of the dry-season crop of paddy as the harvest nears.

In Cambodia, two main crops of rice are typically grown per year. The monsoon-season (or long-cycle) crop is generally planted in late May through to July and harvested in December, whereas the dry-season (or short-cycle) crop is planted in November and collected in January-February of the following year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The ministry predicts that rates for the dry-season crop could drop further, amid considerable rises in costs for shipping and agricultural inputs such as fuel, fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals – double in some cases – which it says has prompted factories to cut production.

In the interest of undergirding rice production, it affirmed that it has taken action and called on provincial agriculture, forestry and fisheries authorities to “continue to guide farmers and agricultural communities”.

“Provide them with the rice production techniques necessary to achieve high yields, and enlighten them to the proper use of agricultural inputs to comply with those methods, reduce production costs, and ensure quality rice in accordance with standards,” the ministry ordered.


  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa