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Ranking trade officials and businessmen from Cambodia met with Filipino rice importers, wholesalers, traders, and millers recently to explore how the Philippines and Cambodia can strengthen the rice trade between the two countries. The meeting was organized by Go Negosyo following the CEO Roundtable attended by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion during the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia last year.
“This is a direct result of the meetings we had during the ASEAN Summit, and it drives home how important it is for foreign businessmen to hear directly from the President how open we are to establishing stronger ties between our countries,” said Concepcion.
“This meeting also comes at the right time as we build on the plans for Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Angat Lahat Agri Program (KALAP), with the goal of transforming the country’s rice industry,” he said. KALAP is Go Negosyo’s public-private sector initiative that aims to integrate MSMEs, farmers, and fisherfolks into the value chain of large industries.
The Cambodian delegation was led by HE Chan Sokty, Delegate of the Royal Government and Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce and the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The Philippines, the Cambodian delegation said, is a good market choice for Cambodia, and while they understand that Vietnam is still the number one source for imported rice in the country, they are determined to penetrate the market. They also said that they are open to addressing the relatively higher price for Cambodian rice.
For their part, representatives from the Philippine Rice Millers Association said that they are looking for other sources of rice to meet the high demand for rice in the country. They welcomed the proposal of the Cambodian delegation and said that they will consider it as an option and will open the discussion with their members.
A presentation was conducted by Cambodia Rice Federation president Okhna Chan Sokheang, which highlighted the Khmer people’s long tradition of growing and milling rice known for its high quality, rich color, and fragrance. In 2021, Cambodia produced more than 12 million metric tons of rice. Its rice varieties include premium jasmine (malys Angkor), fragrant (sren kra ob), premium soft white, premium hard white, brown jasmine, and red jasmine.
The country has 80 export-capable millers, and a milling capacity of 30,000 tons per day; its rice storage capacity is at 1.6 million tons and it has the capacity to dry 50,000 tons of wet paddy production per day. It is currently exporting mainly to Europe and China, and is looking to expand to Southeast Asia, along with the US, Canada, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.
The delegation emphasized that Cambodian rice is renowned for its quality, having been awarded as the World’s Best Rice for five years during the World Rice Conference. Cambodian rice is also non-GMO and complies with the International CODEX standard.
In the meeting were the Philippines’ major rice wholesalers, importers, traders, and millers, including James Amparo of Yovel East Research, Rowena Sandicon of Philippine Rice Millers, Tiffany Lim-Ngo of SL-Agritech, Arvin Boqueo of Merrymart, and independent rice producers and millers including Orlando Manuntag, Marina Bacay, John Michael Bacay, and Dory Del Rosario.
Accompanying HE Chan and Mr. Okhna were HE Kim Sreyroth, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, and Kingdom of Cambodia. Accompanying them was the Cambodia Rice Federation’s President, Sec. Gen. Lun Yeng, Deputy Gen. Manager Ny Lyheng, Vice President Ros Sopharith, Vice President Yun Hong, and members Him Lynda, Okhna Van Souieng, Chan Pech, Men Sotheary, and Un Valentin.