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Indonesia eyes Cambodian rice imports

Updated: Feb 2

In a bid to enhance bilateral trade, Indonesia will send a delegation to understand the possibility of importing rice from Cambodia.

The commitment was made by Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday.

“An Indonesian delegation will visit Cambodia to conduct discussions on rice imports,” Joko Widodo said.

The Cambodian and Indonesian governments signed agreements on the purchase of rice in 2012. However, they haven’t finalized the shipment volume as well as the type of rices.

Prime Minister Hun Sen applauded the move, calling for Indonesia to invest in the rice sector.

“Indonesian investors can invest 100 percent in Cambodia to set up rice mills, warehouses and paddy purchasing networks from farmers to ensure stability for exports,” the Prime Minister said.

Cambodia’s rice entered a new market in the Philippines in June this year, making the country’s rice shipped to ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines, and paddy to Thailand and Vietnam.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries is boosting local rice production to advance the benefit over the increasing rice price at the international market, said the ministry’s spokesman Im Rachna.

“Cambodia is making strategies to benefit from India’s rice export ban through enhancing the capacity of local mills to collect rice for storage, increasing processing and exporting directly to international markets,” she said.

Cambodia exported 329,633 tonnes of milled rice in the first semester of this year, earning around $229 million in revenue, a CRF report showed.

Shipped to 52 countries and regions around the world, exported milled rice varieties included premium aromatic rice, fragrant rice, long-grain white rice, parboiled rice, and organic rice.

During the January-June period, Cambodia also had border-traded paddy rice with neighbouring countries at 2.2 million tons, generating revenue of about $578 million.

Cambodia has a full capacity in producing and export milled rice up to 2 million tonnes a year, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation, which has set a goal of a million-rice export by 2025.

Cambodia is becoming an important part of improving national and global food security after some of the world’s largest rice exporters shut down their exports, said Yang Saing Koma, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

“Cambodia has great potential to increase rice production on existing land and further expand the rice market abroad through the policy of deploying commune agriculture officials and building agricultural communities or farmers’ associations linked to agricultural contracts,” he said earlier in August.

Cambodia and Indonesia have also discussed further cooperation in trade, investment and tourism by promoting the export of Cambodian agricultural products to the Indonesian market.

The bilateral trade between Cambodia and Indonesia amounted to $594 million in the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 28 percent, the Ministry of Commerce’s report showed.

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