The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) predicted that the Kingdom will be able to expand its rice exports to Arab and African markets to a volume of around 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes this year.

CRF president Chan Sokheang said this after participating in the world’s largest food event – Gulfood Fair – at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Sokheang said that Cambodian rice has been exported to Africa and the UAE before in smaller amounts, but after this exhibition the federation expects rice exports to increase.

“We hope to see some results in the next two to three months. We expect that the Arab and African markets will increase our exports by 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes. We are looking forward to seeing our team with all of our members working with buyers directly, as we also have to compete with our neighbours on rice prices, including shipping costs,” he said.

He noted that there were eight rice companies from Cambodia at the Gulfood Fair in Dubai, with four of them participating directly in the exhibition while the four others meeting with business contacts from other countries.

In addition, a Chinese-Dubai based company exhibited Cambodian rice at the fair and the booth of the CRF collected business cards from more than 700 companies from around the world including the Middle East’s Iran, Iraq and Kuwait; Russia; Europe; the US; and African nations such as South Africa, Ghana and Gabon.

He said the exhibition has resulted in new markets for Cambodian rice and the full impact will be known within the next two to three months after negotiations are completed and all arrangements such as shipping are made.

“We saw good signs for Cambodian rice. Some participants seemed to be surprised by our presence at this event in Dubai because the Gulfood Fair is the world’s biggest food exhibition with companies from 120 countries participating and about 400,000 to 500,000 attendees, but this was our first time there.

“We think that events like this one will enable us to promote Cambodian rice internationally to a point where we can export one million tonnes annually,” he said.

In a recent meeting between the public and private sectors to promote Cambodia’s rice sector, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said the private sector plays an important role in discovering the possibilities for promoting goods from the Kingdom, including rice, to achieve wide penetration of foreign markets.

“The private sector, especially the CRF, is reviewing the current implementation mechanisms and other relevant factors such as the source, quantity and price of rice, which are factors that could affect the rice market in the EU.

“On the other hand, it is necessary to increase cooperation between the private sector through the exchange of market information and export requirements, as well as experiences, to advance the Cambodian rice sector to the next level,” he said.

Source : Phnom Penh Post

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