Home > Business, Cambodia Business News > Toyota joins Huay Chuan [ Joint venture eyed for Cambodian rice ]

Toyota joins Huay Chuan [ Joint venture eyed for Cambodian rice ]

Chookiat: Cambodian market opening up
Toyota Tsusho, the trading arm of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation, has
teamed up with Thailand’s Huay Chuan Rice Co to cash in on Cambodia’s
growing rice industry.
The alliance, which includes Malaysian investors, has been in talks
with Cambodian businessmen for a venture that would initially set up a
rice mill and processing plant for export.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, managing director of the Huay Chuan Group,
said Takeo province on the Vietnamese border is being considered. Takeo
is about 150 kilometres east of Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s deep-water
seaport, which would facilitate shipments.
Cambodia’s rice industry has grown rapidly in recent years following
the government’s policy of promoting exports once local production is
sufficient for local consumption.
Mr Chookiat said Cambodia should have four million tonnes of
unmilled rice for export this year – 3.5 million tonnes to Vietnam and
the rest to Thailand.
“The Cambodian government has opened the market wider to foreign
investors, especially those bringing in new technology and R&D for
improving the local rice industry,” he said.
Cambodia reportedly shipped 900,000 tonnes of rice in 2010, almost
double the 500,000 tonnes in 2008. However, the actual volume may be
even higher due to inefficient data gathering.
Mr Chookiat said the proposed venture will also consider the next phase – a fully integrated rice operation.
It would develop quality jasmine and glutinous rice seeds, promote
higher-quality farming and process the rice for both consumption and
use as an ingredient in a vinegar factory.
“The Japanese firm already produces vinegar in Vietnam, but supply
problems are prompting them to seek new sources,” said Mr Chookiat.
Toyota Tsusho earlier met with Huay Chuan Rice to discuss a possible
joint investment in rice-based products such as flour and crackers for
domestic consumption and export to Japan.
But last year’s political unrest in Bangkok put that project on
hold. As well, Japanese investors are unsure of Thailand’s rice policy.
“There’s a risk the new government could reinstitute the rice price
pledging scheme, which could result in market and cost instability,”
said Mr Chookiat, who is also honorary president of the Thai Rice
Exporters Association.
The association will today lead a delegation to Cambodia to promote tighter cooperation in the rice industry.
Other rice exporters including Thailand’s largest, Asia Golden Rice
Co, are working with Japanese partners to invest in Cambodian rice.
Bangkok Post
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