BD, Cambodia ink rice procurement deal

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 16 Aug 2017, 21:42:08
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BD, Cambodia ink rice procurement deal

Bangladesh and Cambodia have signed a rice purchasing agreement two week after striking a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard.

The two countries inked the MoU in Phnom Penh early this month, according to a report by www.khmertimeskh.com.

Bangladesh will import 250,000 tonnes of milled rice from Cambodia under the agreement signed on Monday.

The purchasing agreement was made after the officials from Cambodian state-owned Green Trade Company and the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) flew to Bangladesh last week to negotiate in details based on the government-to-government MoU.

CRF president Sok Puthyvuth said Monday that Bangladesh was interested in Cambodian rice and wanted to have a relationship with the country.

After Bangladesh signed a MoU with Cambodia on August 2, he said, officials from the CRF and Green Trade flew to Bangladesh to negotiate directly.

He said that there were tough negotiations and competition with Thailand, India and Vietnam - who all were also wooing Bangladesh to purchase rice from them. Bangladesh, however, chose Cambodia.

Bangladesh, the world's fourth-biggest rice producer, has emerged as a major importer of the grain this year after flash floods hit domestic output in recent months.

The country, as a result, is facing dwindling stocks and high local prices.

"We will work with the CRF's members, Green Trade and Rural Development Bank to strengthen the export soon," said Mr Puthyvuth, adding, "We want the export to take place as soon as possible."

"We are not worried as Bangladesh gave us enough time."

According to him, the CRF will talk with its members on the quantity to export to Bangladesh and would get feedback soon on their ability to export to Bangladesh.

"Prices will be based on the market scenario, but we will continue to talk to find a win-win solution between Cambodian farmers and Bangladesh," said Mr Puthyvuth.

"At the moment, the price we are offering Bangladesh is competitive if compared to that of Vietnam, Thailand and India."

He said, "In the next five years, the price will be higher as Cambodia modernises its agriculture, particularly the rice sector."

On August 2, the Cambodian Commerce Ministry and Bangladesh signed the MoU to sell about a million tonnes of rice in the next five years to 2022.

Sok Sopheak, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Commerce, said the quality of rice and pricing were crucial for Cambodia to compete with Thailand and India who had also signed MoUs with Bangladesh.

He said costs on such aspects as logistics and terminal handling charges would be kept as low as possible.

Song Saran, CEO of AMRU Rice, welcomed the agreement with Bangladesh, saying it opened new markets for Cambodia.

"The private sector is keen to make this agreement work. We will ensure the Bangladeshis that the rice they get from us will be the best quality," he said.
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