Cambodia exported more than double the amount of milled rice during the first five months of the year than it did over the same period in 2012, according to the government’s latest figures.
Numbers from Cambodia’s government-private sector working group show that the country exported nearly 147,000 tons of milled rice from January to May, a 127 percent jump from the 64,600 tons exported during the first five months of last year.
France led the way with imports of 23,000 tons, followed by Poland, Thailand, Malaysia and China. Gabon, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the U.K. rounded out the top 10 importers.
European countries figure prominently on the list thanks to the European Union’s Everything But Arms trade scheme, which allows Cambodia to export—as the name implies—everything but weapons to member states both duty and quota free.
President of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters Kim Savuth attributed the growing exports to better quality of the product.
“There has been an increase in milled rice exports of 127 percent because our milled rice is good quality,” he said.
General director of Green Trade Thon Virak a state-owned rice exporter, credited quality and growing demand for the jump.
“The milled rice export is up because of higher demand from markets and they know the quality of our milled rice,” he said.
And despite some doubts relayed last year by the World Bank, the deputy director-general of the Agriculture Ministry’s general department of agriculture, Hean Vanhorn, said the increase was a good sign that Cambodia would meet its lofty target for milled rice exports.
“There is a lot of potential for Cambodia’s milled rice exports to increase,” he said. “I believe that in 2015, Cambodia will export 1 million tons of milled rice because the government is implementing its four strategies.”
Those four components include raising rice paddy production, milling more rice, promoting export and seeking out new markets.