Cambodia has seen a sharp rise in the exports of milled rice in the first six months of this year thanks to increasing demand on international markets, an official said Wednesday.
The figures, from the single window secretariat for facilitating milled rice exports, showed that the Southeast Asian nation exported 176,000 tons of milled rice during January-June period this year, up 125 percent from 78,000 tons over the same period last year.
Cambodian rice are on sales in 49 countries around the world, the report said. Five main countries purchased Cambodian rice are Poland, France, Thailand, Malaysia and China.
Hean Vanhorn, director of the single window secretariat for facilitating milled rice exports, said the increase was due to rising demand on international markets and Cambodia's efforts in promoting rice exports. "It is also thanks to more investment by private sector in building modern rice mills,"he said.
Based on the six-month figures, he believed that the country would be able to achieve the target of 1-million-ton milled rice exports by 2015.
Kim Savuth, president of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters, predicted that the country could export about 300,000 tons of milled rice in the whole year of 2013.
He said a ton of fragrant rice costs about 980 U.S. dollars.
Last Saturday, the government of Brunei, for the first time, signed a one-year contract to purchase 3,000 tons of fragrant rice from Cambodia.
With more than 80 percent of the population being farmers, Cambodia produced 9.31 million tons of paddy rice last year. Of this amount, besides local consumptions, the nation had around 3 million tons of milled rice left over for export this year.
The impoverished nation exported 187,115 tons of milled rice last year, earning 132 million U.S. dollars, according to the Ministry of Commerce.