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Monday, September 15, 2014


We reported on this 9-month long project earlier in the year (see "White Gold"). It has been funded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and the European Union (EU).

The work has now reached a successful close with a second workshop in Phnom Penh held at the Sofitel on 11th September 2014. Overall the research on international markets for Cambodian high quality rice (especially the Phka Malis jasmine rice) meshes with a number of initiatives being taken by the Government of Cambodia to develop and promote the Cambodian rice industry. An Asian Development Bank project will also start soon aimed at assisting with the further commercialization of the rice sector.

FoodWorks researchers Geoff Quartermaine Bastin and Eddie Vernon worked under the direction and excellent leadership of William Scott of Agland Investment Services Inc. covering the China and Singapore markets as well as providing a world market review. Michel Timsit of GEM of Paris covered France (in superb detail with a special consumer research element) and Germany while Bill Scott himself researched the USA and the Cote d'Ivoire. William Mott of Agland contributed extensively on branding strategy. These six countries were seen as being the most likely where Cambodia can increase its exports.

Here's a screen grab of an article published about the workshop that focuses on the results from the China market research; we also undertook market research in Singapore.

Full article at: China Rice Market

The workshop was well-attended, with over 100 people present during the day and 92 people staying for lunch. A significant portion of the audience (at least 80% or more) stayed for the entire event, which ended at approximately 5:15 in the afternoon.

The United States, France, and Germany were discussed in the early morning session. After coffee, China, Singapore, and Cote d’Ivoire were presented. All of the presentations were PowerPoint slides based on the graphs and tables found in the individual countries studies written by the consultants from the combined Agland Investment Services, FoodWorks and GEM team led by Mr. Scott.
William Scott Team Leader of the Agland Investment Services, FoodWorks and GEM business advisory team addressing the workshop.

In the afternoon, there was a session to discuss strategy issues confronting the newly formed Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) and the rice sector in Cambodia.

Creating a quality image for Cambodian rice appeared to be a priority for everyone in the room. The reality is that in the marketplace, Cambodian jasmine rice of the same (or better) quality as Thai Hom Mali sells at a price lower than the Thai rice. There was general agreement that in the long-term, a market of certification, similar to that developed for Thai Hom Mali, needs to be created for Cambodian rice. In addition, the meeting suggested that Cambodian rice needed to improve its price competitiveness and to establish a reputation for reliable, sustainable and consistent supply.

Each company participating in the seminar received a flash drive that contained PDF versions of the country studies and the strategic synthesis report. Copies of the main reports may be obtained from the CRF. Mr. Lun Yeng, Secretary General of CRF, served as the moderator during the entire day. Mr. Sok Puthyvuth, President of the CRF, was one of the key opening speakers to the Workshop.

A word of thanks to Madelaine Nelson of Agland: without her unstinting work on the text of the reports this project would never have got finished. Thanks!

Also for more information contact William Scott on email:


Thursday, May 22, 2014


CAMP Technical Team member interviewing a fisherman
at Dolieb Hill, Upper Nile State
Working on the JICA-funded Comprehensive Agricultural Development Master Plan (CAMP) for South Sudan 2012 - 2015 

FoodWorks has provided a staff member to assist in the production of the Comprehensive Agricultural Development Master Plan (CAMP) for South Sudan, a JICA funded project. Mr Robert Lindley, the Foodworks Senior Managing Partner and Fisheries Specialist (click here to see Robert's profile) worked with the CAMP team in 2012 and 2013 to assist the team to produce the Situation Analysis Report and then the Interim Report of CAMP.

After a short delay due to the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan, in June 2014 Mr Lindley is again returning to Africa, initially based in Kampala, accompanied by Dr. Jerry Turnbull, a Foodworks Senior Associate Partner and livestock specialist, who is also joining CAMP in 2014.  The two Foodworks staff will be cooperating with the South Sudan CAMP Technical Teams and the other JICA funded CAMP Technical Experts to produce the Investment Plan which is to be one of the main components of the Master Plan, to be produced by March 2015.

A significant feature of CAMP is that the whole process is led by the Government of South Sudan, through a Steering Committee comprised of senior members of government, and a Technical Team (TT), which has undertaken the day to day activities of the project; assisted by the Technical Experts provided under the JICA assistance. In addition “Focal Points” have been appointed in each of the states of South Sudan and serve as the links between the project and the States’ governments and rural stakeholders.  Ownership of the outputs of the project by the South Sudan Government, States and others is thus assured.. 

Mr Lindley led a team of four staff members of the Fisheries Department who traveled widely throughout South Sudan collecting information on the fisheries of the various states, working with focal points, states’ governments and the other stakeholders to collect data which was analysed and compiled into one chapter of the situation analysis and presented at a stakeholders meeting in late 2013.  There are several significant findings coming from this Situation Analysis, including:
Women fishing using cover pots.
Kuom Payam, near Aweil.  Western Bahr-el-Gazal State.

·       Consumption of fish is approximately 17kg/year per capita.  This figure in itself is not surprising, being comparable to other countries with similar abundant inland fish resources in Africa.  What is surprising is that the “official” figures, internally, from FAO, and elsewhere give consumption of less than 2kg/year/capita.

·       To provide this amount of fish the catch must be in the order of 140,000 tonnes/year.  Much higher than any other estimates.

·       There are at least 220,000 people engaged in fishing activity in the country with at least 1.7 million people living in households directly relying on fisheries for livelihood, food security or employment.  Again this is significantly higher than previously thought.

·        Potential yields are unknown with any accuracy, and no system is in place to measure potential, so it is essential to introduce fisheries co-management systems based on the “precautionary approach”, and “ecosystems approach”.  It is also very urgent to strengthen the National and States’ Governments capacity to manage.

All these are very important conclusions because they not only emphasise the importance of fisheries in the national economy and for food security and nutrition, but also highlight the difficulties and challenges in management of the fish resources in a sustainable manner for the future.

Mr. Lindley weighing dried fish in Malakal, Upper Nile State
For the Interim Report at the end of 2013, (of which the Situation Analysis is an Annex) the Fisheries Technical Team, advised by Mr Lindley, outlined two differing 25 year scenarios which may occur in fisheries in South Sudan, with, and without, wise management of the capture fisheries.  These showed that 120,000 tonnes of potential production from fisheries and aquaculture would be lost if proper management of the resources was not effected and as a result serious overfishing occurred  Examples from other African fisheries were used to illustrate the pitfalls of failing to adequate control the rise in effort and subsequent overfishing in inland fisheries.

In 2012 and 2013 the project was implemented by the International Development Corporation of Japan (IDCJ) and the JIN Corporation.  In early 2014 the JIN Corporation will take over the management of the project.  Foodworks looks forward to a long and fruitful co-operation with the JIN Corporation on CAMP and other projects in the future.
Mr Lindley measuring a gill net on the Nile at Nimule, Central Equatoria State

For more information contact Robert Lindley on

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The FoodWorks team [1] has been undertaking in-depth market research aimed at increasing exports of Cambodian milled rice - "White Gold" - especially the unique variety of fragrant rice or Phka Malis in Khmer language.

The Study of the International Markets for Cambodian Rice” is being undertaken in association with Agland Investments Service, Inc. It is jointly funded by the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The principle stakeholder is the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters (FCRE), but all those involved in the Cambodian rice industry, including the Royal Government of Cambodia, are considered to be interested parties.

Cambodian rice includes some of the most traditional varieties found in South-east Asia and some claim that it is the origin of Thailand's famous jasmine rice (Th. Hom Mali). Cambodia has only been a serious (if small) exporter of milled rice since 2010 – a base volume of 48,202 tons rising to some 200,000 tons last year, but it has a very long history of irrigated rice culture and indeed the ancient civilization of Angkor Wat was founded on rice.

More recently Cambodia has recovered from decades of civil war and become a much loved tourist destination and an increasingly important source of food for the Greater Mekong Sub-region. There are more than 60 rice mills of various sizes up to 80 tons/day using modern equipment and eager to push exports to over 1 million tons annually.

Cambodian Premium Fragrant Rice was awarded the ‘World’s Best Rice’ Award for the
second straight year in a row at the global rice tasting competition during the World Rice Conference (WRC) organized by The Rice Trader (TRT) in Hong Kong, China from November 19-21, 2013.

The aim of the research work to date has been to identify the likely best markets for Cambodian rice, in particular, fragrant or jasmine rice. The focus is milled (processed rice) not padi or unmilled rice (a very large volume of which gets milled in neighboring countries). 

On the basis of preliminary analysis, a First Consultative Conference was held in Phnom Penh with the membership of the FCRE on 17th February 2014. At this meeting, the consulting team, led by Mr. William Scott of Agland Investments, Inc., presented the initial findings and analysis to more than 60 stakeholders. This conference was followed by a series of short meetings including the IFC team members and FCRE members – millers and exporters.[2] 

In later stages of the project the team will undertake detailed studies of the export markets in the USA, China and France, all identified as having considerable potential for Cambodia's rice. Three more countries (likely in Africa, Asia and the EU) will be added once the initial country results are in.

[1] The FoodWorks team comprises Geoff Quartermaine Bastin, Dr. Shane Tarr PhD and Eddie Vernon.

[2] The presentation constituted a “draft” analytical snapshot of the industry and was presented in the form of a PowerPoint, which was then distributed as a .pdf document file to all FCRE members on 25th February 2014.

Photo credit: www.