Cambodia Asks East Timor to Import Rice, Sugar


Cambodia is seeking to export milled rice and sugar to East Timor, according to the Ministry of Commerce, with experts saying it will expand markets for the Kingdom’s agricultural products.
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak on Friday asked East Timor’s Ambassador to Cambodia Felicidade de Sousa Guterres to check the possibility of East Timor importing milled rice and sugar from Cambodia.
Mr. Sorasak made the proposal as East Timor is in high demand of the products, according to a post on the ministry’s Facebook page.
Ministry spokeswoman Soeung Sophary said it was just a proposal for East Timor to consider importing milled rice and sugar from Cambodia.
“We just proposed that East Timor import from us because we have seen that East Timor imports milled rice and sugar from Cambodia’s neighbors,” Ms. Sophary said. “If they can import from us, it is good because we can expand the market for our products.”
She added that neither the amount to be imported nor a price had been reached.
Cambodia has failed to grab the market for milled rice in the Philippines and Indonesia as Cambodia’s milled rice is more expensive than that of Thailand and Vietnam.

Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, applauded the government’s proposal in seeking more markets for the country’s rice which will boost exports. But he said the Kingdom’s rice sector needed a lot of support from the government, development partners and relevant parties due to competitiveness in foreign milled rice markets.
East Timor is a new market and more studies are needed to identify the varieties of rice that East Timor demands. “If East Timor needs fragrant rice, Cambodia hopes to grab this market compared to white rice,” he said.
Mr. Lak, however, expressed concerns over the high cost of rice production, saying it will limit exports and be difficult to compete with other rice-exporting countries.
Sam Saroeun, president of the Cambodia Sugar Association in Kampong Speu province, welcomed the proposal saying the move would open markets for palm sugar.
“If they allow us to export, it will benefit Cambodian farmers,” Mr. Saroeun said. “When we have more markets to export to, our farmers will have more jobs.”


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