More than 1,000 organic rice farmers in Preah Vihear province Monday signed a contract to produce roughly 2,500 tons of jasmine paddy for the local Amru Rice company for eventual export to Europe and the U.S.
“This is the first time that we have signed a contract with a company to export our rice on a large scale to big overseas markets,” said Ouk Bophaphaly, president of Living Standard Development Cooperative, one of eight rice associations that signed the deal Monday.
Amru Rice CEO Song Saran said that in order to gain access to world markets, the contracted communities would have to first meet three main standards for rice quality.
“First, more than 20 percent of their paddy must not break…. Second, paddy grains must be between 14 and 24 percent wet. And third, jasmine paddy must be at least 90 percent pure,” Mr. Saran said, adding that France-based Ecocert, an organic certification agency, will inspect the rice.
Mr. Saran said Amru Rice plans to buy the paddy from the Preah Vihear farmers in November—three days after they harvest it—at a price about 20 percent higher than market value.