Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday acknowledged that the country will not meet an ambitious goal to be exporting 1 million tons of rice by the end of the year.
Hun Sen set out that challenge several years ago, but the country’s infrastructure and quality control have hampered rice exports.
Addressing government officials and the public as results of the latest agricultural census were announced, Hun Sen said the production of unprocessed paddy rice had met its goals, but export had not.
“But we will keep trying,” he said. “We have to improve our capacity and reduce production costs for our farmers.”
Rice exporters have said in the past they can’t compete on the international market with neighboring Vietnam and Thailand, both of which are major rice exporters.
Cambodia is capable of producing 5 million tons of milled rice per year, but much of that goes to local demand, while a good portion of unmilled rice is sold to buyers from neighboring countries, where it is milled and sold at a higher price.