Friday, October 30, 2009

Cambodia eyes Nov. 4 rice tender

Saturday, October 31, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

MACTAN, Cebu -- Cambodia aims to double exports in five years and play a bigger role in the global rice market.

Ny Lyheng, managing director of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Millers Associations, said on Thursday that his group also plans to tap new markets, including the Philippines, as he expressed interest to participate in the Philippine tender on November 4.

Mr. Ny said Ambassador Noe Wong and his staff at the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh recently toured the facilities of Baitang (Kampuchea) Plc. (Cambodia Green Plc), which operates the first and biggest rice milling plant in Cambodia. The plant has the capacity to produce 720 metric tons a day, Mr. Ny added.

Cambodia presently produces around eight million metric tons of paddy rice, only half of which is for domestic consumption. The other half, which translates to about 3 million MT of milled rice, is exported to Germany, France, Malaysia and other countries.

The target is to more than double exports to 8 million MT of milled rice by 2015, Mr. Ny said.

"Cambodia has great potential to be a major player (in the rice market). We can compete in terms of quality and quantity," Mr. Ny said.

To increase production, Mr. Ny said they will cultivate more lands for rice, increase the cropping periods, improve farming techniques and upgrade rice mills.

The government had provided the federation a loan, part of which was used to held upgrade milling equipment throughout the country.

"Now, 15% of our mills are ready to export. They are expected to start exporting in 2010," Mr. Ny told delegates to the World Rice Conference here that ended Thursday.

The rest of the mills will continue to cater to domestic requirements while upgrading their equipment.

Cambodia presently has 2.6 million hectares of ricelands. "We have a very big land area. We can increase our irrigated lands," Mr. Ny said.

Other emerging rice exporters are Myanmar, which targets to export 1 million MT next year; and Uruguay, whose paddy exports may reach 1.25 million MT, or about 800,000 MT of milled rice. -- Marites S. Villamor

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