Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh has signed a rice deal with the Philippines, as Cambodia tries to find new markets for its increasing supplies of domestically milled rice.
A statement on the website of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said Mr. Prasidh on Thursday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the rice trade with the Philippines’ ambassador in Phnom Penh, Noe Wong.
“The MOA opens the way for the [Philippines] National Food Authority to import rice from Cambodia for the next two years through Green Trade [a Cambodian public enterprise],” the statement says.
Green Trade general director Thon Virak said it had not yet been decided how much Cambodian rice the Philippines would import.
“We are in discussions,” he said.
Cambodia’s rice harvest, which is growing each year thanks to more land use and improved irrigation, still largely bleeds over the borders to Thailand or Vietnam as paddy, with the value-adding milling process completed outside the country.
Cambodia exported more than 200,000 tons of milled rice last year, still a long way off a government target to export 1 million tons of milled rice annually by 2015.
Kim Savuth, president of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Export Association, said that in the first three months of 2013, about 95,000 tons of milled rice had already been exported, compared with only 36,000 tons in the same period last year.
“Our rice exports this year are much better compared to last year because we were prepared already to export and our transportation facilities are better, so we can supply more to be exported,” he said.