Rice

Heavy Investment Essential for Cambodia's Rice Exports to Remain Competitive

During a tour of the US and Europe to promote Cambodia's premium rice, president of Cambodia Rice Federation Song Saran says investment is essential in logistics and infrastructure for rice exports to thrive.
A rice worker in Phnom Penh on December 7, 2021. Picture: Sam
A rice worker in Phnom Penh on December 7, 2021. Picture: Sam

Cambodia has to remain competitive in the next five years by heavily investing in logistics, electricity, and connectivity in port, rail, roads, waterways, and inland, said Song Saran, president of Cambodia Rice Federation as he tours the United States and Europe to promote jasmine rice.

In an email interview with Kiripost, Saran, who is also CEO at Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, said this would maintain rice exports at between 1 and 2 million tons per year and push it to become the top 10 rice exporter in the world.

“I also expect to have more green investment to obtain a positive social and economic impact, particularly social protection for the up-stream by consolidating smallholder farmers in farmer cooperatives and developing the agriculture business model under the cooperative’s law,” Saran said.

In Europe, Song Saran meet with Herba Ingredients, in which Amru Rice is one of the suppliers.
In Europe, Song Saran meet with Herba Ingredients, in which Amru Rice is one of the suppliers.

“We expect the Cambodian rice sector to move to more safety and quality of Cambodian rice. Focusing on premium aromatic rice and specialty rice would be beneficial to people, planet, and social protection,” he said.

“Cambodian farmers have to create more innovation and technology to reduce and recycle the waste or by-products to high-value products for pet or human consumption,” he added.

Saran is on a business’s visit to the United States and Europe to meet strategic partners to understand the challenges and opportunities for rice trades. He is also promoting Cambodian premium jasmine rice, especially organic rice, in partnership with public and private companies there.

It is Saran’s first business visit after more than 2.5 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hardly affected exports to the EU and the US markets in 2021.

“It disrupted the global supply chain, and freight cost is 7 to 10 times more expensive than pre-Covid (2019),” Saran wrote.

Saran said that external pressure is a challenge for Cambodian rice. However, demand for the grain remains.

“The challenges are global logistics and connectivity, gas and oil price, inflation, Ukraine – Russia War, and climate change,” he said.

“It's a global challenge, we are a producing country and the demand for food is still high even in the inflation and reduction of other alternative consumption,” he said, adding that it is a potential for food and agriculture products during this time. “But we don’t expect the consumers to pay high costs."

During the US leg of his trip, Saran met city council members, community, entrepreneurs, investors, and food distributors to promote rice and food product trade, hosted by Royal Honorary Consulate of Cambodia in Long Beach.

He also met his organic partners based in Portland, where he discussed organic rice trades and opportunities between Cambodia and the US. AmruRice is currently using American Grain Silo and shipping rice to the US.

In Europe, Saran met with Herba Ingredients, in which Amru Rice is one of the suppliers for organic food ingredients.

He also met Pomona Group, a more than 100-year-old company based in Paris, which supplies food services to restaurants and hotels, to introduce Cambodian jasmine rice.