Cambodia's Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said on Sunday the country has been seeking Dubai investors to broker Cambodian milled rice for countries surrounding the Persian Gulf.
"Although our rice is not the types of rice consumed in the United Arab Emirates as they mostly eat India's long grain Basmati rice, we want Dubai's rice brokers to buy our milled rice and wholesale to countries in-and-surrounding the Persian Gulf," he said at the Phnom Penh International Airport when returning from participating in the International Rice Exhibition 2011 in Dubai.
Cham said his visit to Dubai was the start of the bilateral trade relationship between Cambodia and Dubai and he had extended an invitation letter to Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister for Foreign Trade who will visit Cambodia early next year, in order to look into the cooperation on rice and other agricultural produce between the two countries.
"We believe that from next year, the trade and investment relationship between Cambodia and Dubai, especially rice cooperation, will be started," he said.
The UAE is the world's biggest re-exporter of rice. Annually, the Dubai brokers milled rice from around the globe in equivalent to 1.4 billion U.S. dollars, he said.
Cambodia produced some eight million tons of rice paddies last year. Of the figures, the country leaves 3.9 million tons of rice paddies, in equivalent to 2.5 million tons of milled rice, left over for exports this year, according to the government report.
However, this country can export only the small amount of its milled rice due to the lack of sophisticated post-harvesting technology.
The country needs roughly 350 million U.S. dollars to invest in hi-tech post harvest technology and to purchase rice paddies from farmers for processing in order to achieve its self-imposed target of one-million-ton rice exports by 2015.