World

Using Frozen Aromatic Rice to Reduce Cambodian Poverty

To the Editor:

Re “What Halved Cambodia’s Poverty?” (5 June 2014)

Cambodia does indeed have the opportunity to increase the price of rice independently. Its Phka Rumduol has won “The World’s Best Rice” award ever since it first competed in 2012 — and unprecedented three years in a row.

It is well known that the unique fragrance and flavor of jasmine rice is imparted by aromatic compounds that evaporate within a few months of harvest, under normal packaging and storage conditions. However, vacuum-packaging and flash-freezing aromatic rice can preserve its aroma year-round.

Just as frozen meat sparked a boom among Southern Hemisphere meat producers in the 19th century, and frozen vegetables sparked a boom in California vegetable producers in the 20th, so can frozen jasmine rice spark a boom in Cambodian rice producers in the 21st.

The Thais have a lock on the low end of the jasmine rice market. Cambodia cannot out-compete them on price. However, it is well-positioned to establish and own a brand-new market for ultra-premium frozen and refrigerated rice. With global energy costs plummeting, the cost of refrigeration has never been lower.

 

JIM PLAMONDON

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The writer is CEO of AwardBest Cambodian Jasmine RiceAwardBest Cambodian Jasmine Rice.

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