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Cambodia’s Jasmine Rice Awarded World Best Rice for 2012

A Cambodian vendor cleans rice at her shop in a roadside market in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Cambodia is now seeking to expand its exports of its jasmine rice and other varieties.

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia’s aromatic variety of jasmine rice was awarded top prize at the Rice Trader World Rice Conference in Bali, Indonesia, last month.

Second and third place went to Thai rice varieties, as more than 40 rice-exporting countries attended the conference, from Sept. 26 to Sept. 28.

Cambodia is now seeking to expand its exports of its jasmine rice and other varieties.

Ung Chhengsear, a representative of Cambodian rice export company Lor Ek Heng Sek Meas, who attended the ceremony, said the award will help raise the profile of Cambodian rice, which has gone relatively unnoticed.

“So this will help increase our rice exports to meet the government’s ambition of 1 million tons of rice exports by 2015,” he told VOA Khmer by phone from Indonesia.

Twelve companies from Cambodia attended this year’s conference, sponsored by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

Bas Rozemuller, IFC project manager, who led Cambodia’s delegation, told VOA Khmer that many buyers had begun contacting Cambodian companies following the announcement of the award.

The rice variety was judged on its overall quality, including texture, shape, flavor and aroma. It is one of four varieties of rice that Cambodian exporters sell abroad.

Hean Vanhan, deputy director general of the Ministry of Agriculture’s general directorate, said Cambodia’s rice exports are continuing to improve. The country has exported more than 420,000 tons of rice so far in the first eight months of the year, he said.

International recognition of the rice’s quality will help exports, said Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council and a key contributor to the government’s rice policy.

“We earned No. 1,” he said. “So we have to move to the next step, which is to make our rice even better known and trusted worldwide.”

Cambodia will host the World Rice Conference next year.