A Cambodian rice miller and a German company have entered into a joint venture to export rice to Germany, starting with up to 20,000 tons next year with the goal of increasing quantities every year over the next three decades, company representatives said Wednesday.
Phou Puy, chairman of the company Phou and Rickmers Rice (Cambodia), created through the joint venture with its German partner, Rickmers Reismuhle Gmbh, signed the rice export agreement on Wednesday after testing the German market with 20 tons of jasmine rice this year.
“We are very interested in [Cambodian] milled rice because it’s very good quality,” said Rolf Eick, vice president of Rickmers Reismuhle. “We are just at the starting point of a long-lasting cooperation,” he said.
Plans are to first ship 10,000 to 20,000 tons of rice to Germany next year, though this may prove difficult, Phou Puy said.
Cambodian farmers have been selling rice paddy directly to Vietnam and Thailand and so far, Cambodia’s rice millers have not had the funds to buy in bulk from the farmers before they sold their supplies to the neighboring countries, he said.
Phou Puy said his company is hoping to get funding from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to purchase a rice dryer and to buy in bulk from local Cambodian farmers.
“We are seeking credit to buy paddy, have storage and mill rice to export to international market,” he said. “This is the kick-start for Cambodian rice exporting.”
Jasmine rice currently sells for $450 per ton on the international market, Phou Puy added.
Son Kunthor, CEO of the Rural Development Bank, said he expects Cambodia’s rice exports to expand worldwide in the future. “Maybe we will seek other possible markets in Africa,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Jessica Cao)