Rice millers and exporters were strongly urged by the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) on Friday to adhere to a code of ethics, to ensure that consumers of the Kingdom’s staple grain sold in domestic and overseas markets were not cheated by unscrupulous traders mixing supplies with lower quality rice to maximize profits.
Heng Peng, vice president of CRF and executive member of CRF’s committee on code of conduct and ethics, said the flood of cheap rice from neighboring Vietnam had made some Cambodian rice millers and exporters resort to “questionable tactics” to stay solvent in the market.
“Some of them are mixing their market supplies with lower quality rice and selling them out of desperation,” said Mr. Peng.
“This is dangerous and unacceptable because it will affect the country’s reputation and make us lose our market share, if consumers do not have confidence in our rice quality,” he pointed out.
Mr. Peng urged all CRF members to follow a code of ethics and not offload to the market adulterated Cambodian rice that would further cause problems for the already near-rock-bottom sector.
On the issue of cheap rice flooding the country from neighboring Vietnam, Mr. Peng told Khmer Times that CRF’s ethics committee will work closely with relevant government ministries to ensure that relevant taxes and duties are paid on all grain entering the Kingdom from neighboring countries.
Chan Pich, vice president of CRF’s ethics committee, told Khmer Times that three resolutions were passed at the CRF committee-level in an attempt to alleviate the current problems plaguing the country’s rice sector.
Firstly, he said, all CRF members will be asked to join the federation’s ethics committee to ensure that they do not resort to unethical practices like mixing rice supplies with lower quality grain.
Secondly, added Mr. Pich, CRF members will urge other millers, suppliers and exporters to sign a code of conduct to ensure that rice supplies and exports from the Kingdom are unadulterated and of the highest market quality.
Thirdly, according to Mr. Pich, CRF will review its agreement with the Ministry of Commerce to ensure exporters get preferential treatment from the government in the form of lower export taxes.
Cambodia’s rice exports fell by 6.9 percent from the 283,825 tons in the first six months of last year to about 268,190 tons in same period this year, according to a report released by the General Department of Agriculture last fortnight.
Hean Vanhan, the deputy director of the General Department of Agriculture, told Khmer Times the drop in the volume of rice exports was partly due to millers and exporters not having enough capital to buy rice in the harvest season to store in warehouses for processing and export, as well as the flow of rice imported from Vietnam, while Thailand was releasing its rice to the market at a lower price.
By Sum Manet, Khmer Times