After a three-year run at the top, Cambodia’s premium jasmine rice slipped a notch, as a panel of judges at the World Rice Conference in Chiang Mai voted Thailand’s Hom Mali the world’s best rice, with Cambodia’s Pkha Rumdoul coming in second.
Officials were quick to pin the blame on marketing.
“I think [second place] is still good, because we all already know that Thailand has promoted its rice for more than 50 years,” said Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF).
“However, we are happy that the world has started to know Cambodia’s rice as being ranked first or second place.” Pkha Rumdoul, a heritage grain known for its quality and fragrance, won first place in the competition in 2012, 2013 and 2014, when the conference was held in Phnom Penh, and didn’t join the competition last year, according to the CRF.
Mr. Lak added that next year, Cambodia would again host the World Rice Conference, saying it had been too busy to do so last year.
The CRF and government ministries have struggled to take advantage of the international recognition by putting forward a single export brand for luxury Cambodian rice.
While the brand Angkor Malis was developed with the help of a French advertising agency earlier this year, it has yet to be marketed or exported abroad.