B’bang Aromatic Rice Production to Double This Year

Aromatic rice production will double this year in Battambang province and reach 100,000 tons thanks to a more substantial rainy season this year, millers and a provincial agriculture official said yesterday.

Seng Bun Sor, president of the Rice Milling Community in Battambang province, said rice production had also benefited from farmers’ using more advanced growing techniques.

“We have had enough water this year,” he said. “We haven’t received any information about natural disasters in Battambang province so far this year.”

News of a rise in production in Battambang comes just two months after the government announced plans to increase rice exports in the country to a million tons by 2015, up from around 20,000 tons currently.

On Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen also announced that the government would sign an agreement for the export of Cambodian rice to China, the region’s biggest market.

Mr Bun Sor said that rice paddy in Battambang was being purchased from farmers for between $230 and $350 per ton.

“If we export this rice overseas it will cost between $700 and $800 per ton for good quality rice,” he said, adding that the European Union, which slashed tariffs on rice last year, was the association’s main market.

He did not have rice export figures for the province.

Ponch Oudam, director of the provincial agriculture department, said Battambang had increased the amount of land cultivating rice to 269,498 hectares from 241,500 hectares in 2009.

“More farmers are turning to grow rice,” he said, adding that the province would produce more than 730,000 tons of paddy rice this year.

Mr Bun Sor said much of that amount was sold to Vietnamese and Thai middlemen who bring it over the border to be milled.

Experts say Cambodia stands to make more money from its rice production it mills its rice paddy domestically and prepares it for export.

Yaing Saing Koma, director of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development, said that as aromatic rice is among the more expensive grains for farmers to buy, an increase in production was a healthy sign of rising affluence in the area.

“It reflects the standard of living of the people,” he said.


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