The National Standards Council (NSC) has endorsed the Phka Romduol and Phka Chansensor varieties to be the Kingdom’s own umbrella brands for fragrant and premium rice, rejecting the Cambodian Rice Federation’s “Angkor Malis” brand name.

Hean Vanhan, deputy chairman of NSC and deputy general director of the General Department of Agriculture, told Khmer Times on Friday that it was necessary to have national standard rice brands to give a prestigious identity to the Kingdom’s grain.

“The source of the Cambodian fragrant rice is Phka Romduol. Phka Chansensor, on the other hand, is the original variety of Cambodian premium rice. All of their origins can be traced to Cambodia, “said Mr. Vanhan.

Mr. Vanhan addressed the controversy of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) trying officially to register “Angkor Malis” as the umbrella brand for the Kingdom’s premium variety of fragrant rice.

“The name Angkor Malis is not suitable. Thailand already has a Malis rice brand and we could have a copyright issue with them if we go ahead and use the name. So we have to carefully consider it,” he said.

Cham Prasidh, the Minister of Industry and Handicraft, said the Romduol and Chansensor national umbrella brands for fragrant and premium rice would boost the country’s rice exports and give a national identity to the country’s premium agricultural crop.

Mr. Prasidh said the specifications submitted to the NSC for the two rice varieties, were developed by his ministry because of their high demand ‒ both locally and internationally.

CRF member Hun Lak welcomed the move to make Romduol and Chansensor national umbrella brands for fragrant and premium rice.

“This move is a good one to give recognition to Cambodian rice, both locally and internationally,” he told Khmer Times.

But Mr. Lak questioned the NSC’s decision to drop the “Angkor Malis” brand name.

“Previously we had a summit about using the brand name Angkor Malis. It’s easy to remember and pronounce and we submitted the name to the [industry and handicraft] ministry. We now want to know why it was dropped.”

According to Mr. Lak, there was “no right or wrong” in the brand name.

“We should have a further discussion on this because it’s the role of the Cambodian Rice Federation to serve its stakeholders and the nation at the same time,” he said.

In the meantime, according to the General Department of Agriculture, Cambodia’s rice exports fell six percent in the first six months this year compared to the same period last year ‒ from 283,825 tons to 268,190 tons.

Khmer Times/Sum Manet

Monday, 18 July 2016