Cambodia exported milled rice worth $126 million overseas in the first three months of 2023 – an increase of $20.9 million, or about 19.9 per cent, over the same period last year, according to data from the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE).

The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) said the increase of nearly 20 per cent was in the amount paid, while the quantity of rice was only about 12 per cent more.

CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng said on April 18 that the increase in the export of milled rice in the first quarter was by over 20,000 tonnes and much more fragrant rice was exported, especially to Europe.

“Because Europe reopened its market, a lot of fragrant milled rice was exported as it was not taxed. Previously it was harder to sell, but now it is easy because the taxes that were being levied ended in early 2022. And the costs of transport are more affordable than before,” he said.

He continued that another factor in the increase in Cambodia’s fragrant rice exports was that late in 2022, Cambodia’s fragrant rice was ranked best in the world.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina has said that Cambodia is committed to exporting Phka Rumduol rice to markets in France and other countries following the rice’s top ranking.

“Phka Rumduol rice needs to be registered as a trademark to indicate its origins and distinguish it as an authentic Cambodian product. It should be labelled with unique QR codes which identify its source. This will give confidence to consumers, both domestic and overseas,” he said upon his return from the Paris International Agricultural Show in March.

In an interview with Radio France International at the time, Tina said Cambodia’s agricultural products need a lot of support from Cambodian people living in France, noting that Phka Romduol jasmine rice has been ranked the best in the world five times.

Cambodia and Australia recently launched a new fragrant rice variety named Champei Sar 70 (CPS 70) to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations, after nearly a decade of research and development.

The cultivar, developed from the award-winning “Phka Rumduol with CNi9024”, is a non-seasonal crop that matures after three months and is resistant to floods and drought, thereby enabling farmers to grow it two to three times per year.

Tina said this new variety will significantly contribute to the diversification of fragrant rice production and the export of fragrant rice to international markets, leading to the improvement of farmers’ livelihoods.