Russia will import Cambodian riceAccording to sources, it has been reported that the Russia has agreed to import agricultural products from Cambodia, while the leaders of the two countries pledged to boost bilateral trade during meetings between the two countries’ senior officials in the past week. In this matter the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met with his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen and the two forged a deal for Russia to import agricultural products from Cambodia as Mr Kao Kim Hourn, a minister attached to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told on his return from Moscow at Phnom Penh International Airport over the weekend.

Further, in this regard the Russia will import Cambodian rice, fruits and other products, Mr. Kim Hourn informed , however, he  did not  give  details on the amount of rice or what kind of fruits Russia will import from Cambodia. Meanwhile, officials and rice exporters welcomed the move. However, Mr Ieng Sophalet, a spokesman at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, informed that he did not know specific numbers of agricultural products to be exported to Russia, but added that exports to Russia were another new market to help boost Cambodia’s agricultural product exports. Further, Mr Hun Lak, the managing director of Mekong Oryza, one of Cambodia’s milled rice exporters, explained that the exports will provide rice producers and exporters the opportunity to expand their markets.

In addition, Mr. Lak also informed that exports of milled rice to Russia and other countries in Eastern European have taken place in the past but was private sector to private sector deals. This will be the first time Cambodian rice has been exported to Russia under the framework of a deal between the two governments. Meanwhile, the Russia, like other countries in Eastern Europe, like having premium quality rice like Cambodia exports. So, it is a new official market for Cambodia’s milled rice as it was stated by Mr Lak.

However, Mr. Lak, who is also vice-president of the Cambodian Rice Federation, revealed that Cambodia’s rice production still faces

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higher costs to produce than its neighbors, although the government has helped to lower the price of electricity and streamline paperwork and taxes.  These things need to be addressed to carry on not only involvement with governments, but also the private sector and moreover, it is nice opportunity to work together.