China OKs MoU for 200,000 Tons of Rice


China formally agreed to purchase 200,000 tons of rice annually from Cambodia to help the country’s rice farmers and millers grappling with falling prices and struggling to compete with the influx of cheaper rice from neighboring countries, said an official in the Ministry of Commerce yesterday.
Soeng Sophary, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce said representatives from her ministry and China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation agreed on the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) for China to start purchasing the 200,000 tons of rice.
Ms. Sophary told Khmer Times, the MoU came into effect on Tuesday, two days before China’s President Xi Jinping’s official visit to the Kingdom.
“This agreement was made to pave the way for Cambodia to export 200,000 tons of rice yearly to the Chinese market,” she said.
Chinese Premer Li Keqiang, in his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Laos early last month, pledged to double China’s annual purchase of 100,000 tons of Cambodian rice to 200,000 tons, starting from next year. China also pledged a loan of $300 million to Cambodia’s rice millers for building warehouses with drying facilities.
“The more rice we sell, the more income we will get. This will greatly help revitalize our rice sector,” said Ms. Sophary.
“The Ministry of Commerce, in the interest of the country’s economy, is constantly finding markets to export to,” she added.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), clarified that that the agreement to sell 200,000 tons of rice to China was negotiated before the fall in market price of the grain.
“Soon after the negotiations, the market price of rice fell – before the Pchum Ben holidays,” said Mr. Lak.
“The rice exported to China is fragrant ‘Sen Kro Oup’ rice and it is priced between $560 and $600 a ton,” he said. “Though the price is high, Chinese consumers are keen to have this rice as they say it tastes good.”
Mr. Lak said CRF was working with the Ministry of Commerce to seek more markets for Cambodian rice.
“We are negotiating with Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Recently, we have had orders from Malaysia,” he said.


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