PHNOM PENH —
Prime Minister Hun Sen is pushing government institutions and businesses to improve the country’s rice production.
Speaking at a forum held by the Cambodia Rice Federation Monday, Hun Sen said he remains optimistic that demand for Cambodian rice will rise, as the global population increases.
Cambodia’s rice needs improved irrigation systems, production that meets market demands, and reduced costs of production, he said. Infrastructure to move the rice needs improvement, including by water and rail, and rice producers need to be more competitive on the international market.
Investment is required in machinery and warehouses to dry and store rice for export, something Cambodia is discussing with China, Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen had asked that Cambodia be producing 1 million tons of rice for export by 2015, but the country is meeting only half that goal.
Hun Luck, deputy president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, told VOA Khmer that reaching the 1-million ton goal will “require a lot of work” from both the government and private sectors. “This will push momentum forward,” he said.
Cambodia has the capacity to produce an estimated 5 million tons of rice each year, but much of it goes toward local consumption and toward sales to middlemen from Vietnam and Thailand, both major producers and suppliers to the world market.