PM Says Meeting Rice Export Goal Will Be ‘Difficult’

Prime Minister Hun Sen conceded on Tuesday that Cambodia will struggle to meet the government’s target of exporting 1 million tons of milled rice this year due to a lack of domestic processing and a shortage of foreign markets.

“Our milled rice exports to Europe are a lot now,” Mr. Hun Sen told an audience of graduates at Phnom Penh’s National Institute of Education.

“But the 1 million target could be difficult in 2015. The processing problem is one thing, but the market problem is another thing.”

Total rice exports reached just 387,061 tons in 2014, a 2.2 percent increase on the 378,856 tons exported the year before.

Last month, a senior official at the Agriculture Ministry predicted that Cambodia would export about 600,000 tons of milled rice this year.

Mr. Hun Sen said Cambodia was in talks with the Philippines to export rice there, but was otherwise struggling against other rice-growing countries around the world to strike deals with developed countries.

“When we flock to the markets of rich countries, the rich countries lower the price,” he said.

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