Rice Millers Face Many Challenges

Small harvests, poor rice quality and regional competition are just a few of the problems faced by the rice milling industry in Cambodia, said participants at a rice milling conference in Phnom Penh last week.

“We don’t have enough rice to be milled,” said Doung Heng, chief of the Rice Milling As­sociation, who traveled from Takeo to attend the two-day conference on Thursday and Friday. “We have the markets, but no rice products.”

Several other chiefs from the Rice Milling Associations in Kandal, Prey Veng and Svay Reing also said they don’t have enough rice, but added that the low quality of rice milling—which breaks the rice into many pieces —is hurting the industry as well.

The chiefs from the provincial Rice Milling Associations were just a handful of the participants who attended the conference at the World Vision Center. More than 250 farmers, government officials and NGO workers from across the nation gathered at the World Vision Center to discuss problems and experiences with rice milling.

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture agreed that rice farmers lack good seed, but added that the Rice Milling Associations lack experience, technological advances and capital.

The ministries of Agriculture and Commerce, provincial rice milling associations and farmers, however, all share the responsibility for improving the rice milling industry, said May Sam Oeun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture.

He said the Ministry of Ag­riculture is in charge of the actual rice product while the Ministry of Commerce oversees the marketing and selling of rice.

Officials from the Ministry of Commerce are currently talking with rice traders in Thailand and Vietnam, who have expressed an interest in buying rice from Cambodia, said Khek Ravy, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported that Cambodia could produce 3 million tons of rice.

Khek Ravy said the ministry will also visit 200 warehouses in provinces to see if they are suitable to store rice or whether the Ministry of Commerce would need to fix them.


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