Cambodia can meet its 100,000 tonne annual export target to Indonesia if more focus is placed on fragrant rice, exporters have said.
In 2012, Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to export 100,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia annually, but the target was never achieved.
In 2016, the two nations then planned to sign an additional MoU on rice trade, but no agreement was reached.
During the inauguration of the Cambodia-Indonesia Friendship Trade Fair 2019 in Siem Reap province last week, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said the Kingdom plans to export the fragrant rice “Jasmine Angkor” to Indonesia to boost bilateral trade volume and strengthen cooperation.
According to Sorasak, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Indonesia last year reached $558 million, of which Cambodia imported $525.6 million and exported $33 million.
Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd vice-president Kan Kunthy said that despite the previous agreements, rice exports to Indonesia in the past have not been successful as it is difficult to compete with other countries’ prices.
He added that Indonesia’s vast size and population makes it a favourable export market.
“Cambodia has a high potential for fragrant rice. I think we’ll be able to reach the target if we focus on exporting this type of rice to Indonesia,” he said.
Over the past few years, Cambodia has exported some 10,000 tonnes of white rice to Indonesia.
Only Cambodia and Thailand produce high-quality fragrant rice. Cambodia’s fragrant rice is currently valued at between $900 and $1,000 per tonne, around 10 per cent less than Thai rice, said Kunthy.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said this could help the government achieve its goal of exporting one million tonnes of rice per year.
“This is further boosting rice exports in addition to the Chinese market, which has given Cambodia a 400,000 tonne annual quota,” he said.
He is optimistic that Cambodian rice exports will not decline this year even though the EU has imposed tariffs on the crop imported into the bloc from the Kingdom.
In the first half of this year, Cambodian rice exports amounted to 281,538 tonnes, up 3.7 per cent from the same period last year.
Between January and April, bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and Indonesia reached $196 million, up 10.48 per cent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.