Cambodia’s year-on-year milled rice exports increased by 39 percent to 538,396 tons in 2015, with most of the rice going to China and European Union countries, according to a report released by the Agriculture Ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture on Friday.
Exports to China accounted for 21.7 percent, or nearly 120,000 tons, of total exports, according to the report.
However, despite the substantial increase, the figure was still more than 460,000 tons short of the government’s much-touted target of 1 million tons of milled rice per year, which Prime Minister Hun Sen said in 2010 that he hoped to achieve by 2015.
Although the country has a surplus of 4 million tons of rice paddy, it still lacks the private sector financing and storage capacity that would allow that paddy to be milled and exported, according to Hean Vanhan, deputy director of the general directorate.
“We could not export our rice to the targeted amount because we did not have sufficient [milled] rice to export, although we had surplus rice paddy,” Mr. Vanhan said.
“One of the main reasons was that the private sector’s ability to process and buy rice paddy was limited.” Mr. Vanhan added that the 1 million ton goal had not disappeared.
“The government still has the ambition to export 1 million tons of rice a year, but the timeframe and what needs to be reviewed are not set yet.”