Rice exports increased from 205,717 tons in 2012 to 378,856 tons in 2013 as a result of high demand from the European Union as well as countries in Asia, according to figures released Thursday by the Ministry of Agriculture.
France imported the most Cambodian milled rice, followed by Poland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, China and Thailand, according to the figures.
Hean Vanhorn, deputy director general of the Ministry of Agriculture’s general department of agriculture, said about 9.34 million tons of paddy rice were harvested last year, up from 9.29 million in 2012.
Mr. Vanhorn said an award that ranked Cambodian Jasmine rice as the best rice in the world has helped elevate the grain’s status and increased exports.
“More countries are becoming aware of Cambodian rice every day,” he said.
Lim Bunheng, chairman of the Cambodian Rice Exports Association, said that rice exports from the country have been on the rise in the past few years thanks to international recognition.
“[Other countries] are starting to know more about our rice. Orders continue to rise,” he said, adding that his company, Loran Import-Export, exported 22,000 tons in 2013, up from 5,700 tons in 2012.
“I will try to double my rice export this year,” he said.
But Mr. Bunheng said that while worldwide demand for Cambodian rice continues to increase, local rice millers are having trouble obtaining loans from banks to keep up.
“Some commercial banks can provide us only 60 to 70 percent of our collateral assets, while other banks provide us 50 percent or 30 to 35 percent,” he said.