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Cambodia: A Rising Star in Global Rice Production

by Surya Narayan
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Cambodia has secured its position as one of the world’s leading rice producers, currently ranking 10th globally. This achievement is notable, especially given the country’s history of food shortages in the late 20th century. Today, Cambodia processes nearly 6 million tonnes of rice annually, contributing significantly to both domestic consumption and international export.

The transformation from a country once plagued by food scarcity to a major rice exporter is a testament to the concerted efforts of both the government and the agricultural sector. Emphasizing quality and sustainability, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been instrumental in fostering practices that enhance soil health and ensure food safety. Their focus on producing high-quality rice while reducing production costs has been pivotal in driving the country’s agricultural success.

In the broader Southeast Asian context, Cambodia stands alongside rice powerhouses like Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Myanmar. Indonesia leads the region with an impressive 34 million tonnes of rice production, followed closely by Vietnam at 26.94 million tonnes. Cambodia’s inclusion in this list underscores its growing influence in the global rice market.

A key aspect of Cambodia’s strategy involves the promotion of specific rice varieties, such as the fragrant Phka Rumduol and Sen Kra’op (SKO). These luxury rice varieties are not only in high demand domestically but also enjoy a broad international market appeal. By focusing on these high-end rice cultivars, Cambodia aims to tap into a distinct market segment, further bolstering its export potential.

The Cambodian Rice Federation, the apex body for the rice industry, is set to review its strategy with a dual focus on both quality and quantity. This approach ensures that while common white rice continues to meet daily consumption needs, there is also significant investment in developing premium rice varieties. This balanced strategy supports the livelihoods of farmers, enhancing their profitability and ensuring that Cambodia remains competitive in the global market.

Cambodia’s rise as a major rice producer is a remarkable success story. By prioritizing sustainable practices, quality improvement, and market diversification, the country is well on its way to solidifying its position as a key player in the global rice industry. As Cambodia continues to innovate and adapt, the future looks bright for its rice sector, promising continued growth and prosperity.

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