Cambodia’s rice exports grew by only 8.5 percent in the first three months of the year, a dramatically reduced pace compared to last year’s growth rate of 77 percent for the same period, according to figures released on Thursday by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Cambodia’s rice exports increased from 84,330 tons in the first quarter of 2014 to 149,464 tons in the first quarter of 2015.
But in the first three months of this year, exports increased only slightly, to 162,200 tons, making the government’s yearly export goal of 1 million tons seem untenable once again.
Hean Vanhan, deputy director of the Agriculture Ministry’s general directorate of agriculture, stressed the need for private sector input to determine how to increase the rate of growth.
“There should be a discussion…with the participation of the private sector to respond to the situation,” he said.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, blamed the weather for the slow increase in rice exports.
“The industry is facing a big new challenge, which is a lack of water due to the drought,” he said.