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Wafers made from hill area rice set to expand overseas

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An advert for Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s organic rice paper in the Netherlands, sold under the ‘Amaizin’ brand. SUPPLIED

Wafers made from hill area rice set to expand overseas

Local rice miller and exporter Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd is looking for distributors and importers based in Australia, France, the US and UK for edible organic rice paper sheets made from ingredients sourced from small-scale farmers in the hilly regions of north and northeastern Cambodia.

The rice wafers – called “banh trang” in Vietnamese and “sambak nem”, “kuy teav moul”, among other names in Khmer – is steamed rice dough that is cut into thin slices and then typically sun-dried. They are traditionally used to make spring rolls and other regional finger-food favourites.

Amru CEO Song Saran told The Post that the company recently rolled out the product, determined to lift up smallholder farmers living in the remote hilly areas of Preah Vihear and Mondulkiri provinces – some of them from ethnic minority backgrounds – and guarantee them adequate incomes to support their families.

The initiative envisages to support local products and link poor producers into the supply chain, based on the credo that “no one be left unattended”, he said.

He posited that growers who follow organic standards will encourage companies to enter into partnerships with them, thereby moving a step closer towards securing a decent income and procuring a comfortable livelihood.

In an invitation to the general public, Saran said: “Your support in buying this product [rice paper] will help to improve the lives of smallholder farmers, especially the ethnic minority ones.”

Orders for Amru’s organic rice sheets are piling up in Denmark and the Netherlands, he enthused, adding that the company was looking for partners to tackle the Australian, French, US and UK markets, where he said consumer demand is strong. Germany too appears to be firmly in his sights.

“We strive to produce rice paper that meets the organic standards of EU and US specifications, and we have the capacity to do so,” Saran said. “We’ve just recently developed these wafers, which are tasty, high quality and up to standards, and are able to compete on the market.”

Amru has reportedly shipped 20 tonnes of the organic wafers to Denmark and the Netherlands over the past eight months, and is ramping up production to fulfil orders there.

The company says it is on track to export about 40 tonnes this year, and has affirmed its commitment to boost exports of natural Cambodian products.

The rice sheets have also seen a significant level of interest and support from Cambodians, which the firm greets as a welcome trend.

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