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Monday, October 04, 2010

Russia and Poland look to Cambodia for rice

A CAMBODIAN trade delegation to Russia and Poland has attracted buyers to discuss deals that could see 40,000 tonnes of rice exported to the two countries in 2011.

Composed of government officials and industry representatives, the Cambodian delegation visited the two nations in September, leading to further discussions planned for January to finalise the deal, according to Thon Virak, director general of state-run Green Trade Company.

“If there are no obstacles, we will make the contract for delivery at that time,” he said at a Ministry of Commerce press conference on Friday. The buyers from Russia and Poland are expected to order at least 4,000 tonnes per month, he said.

“I hope the number of rice export to Europe market will increase in the coming year, and we have enough quantity for exports,” he said.

Representatives of nine rice millers, including two private companies; and four government representatives from the Ministry of Commerce visited Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland from September 22 to 24 in search of opportunities for rice exports.

The visit also allowed industry insiders to meet with European rice traders and distributors to learn more about the regulations and quality standards required to access the European market, he said.

The delegation found that trust and reliability was the most important issue for European buyers, especially with regard to filling deliveries on schedule. Ensuring quality standards and competitive pricing were also primary concerns for European dealers.

“Before the visit to Europe we had no real idea of what the market required, but now after seeing it with our own eyes and talking directly to the buyers we know what EU consumers want,” Norng Veasna, a rice miller from Kampong Cham province said in a statement.

Lim Bun Heng, a representative from Loran Import Export, added that local rice millers need to improve processing technology to become more competitive regarding both quality and quantity.

Mao Thora, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce said improving milling capacity would greatly boost future exports.

Local millers are able to process a maximum of 100,000 tonnes per year at present, he said. If milling capacity was not improved, it would be difficult to meet the Kingdom’s goals for rice exports.

Many donors are funding developments in the agriculture sector. Agence Francaise Development had allocated between $10 million and $15 million for the local millers to improve capacity, but more was needed, Mao Thora said.
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Efforts Against Drug-Resistant Malaria Along Thai-Cambodian Border Show Progress, But More 'Aggressive' Approach Needed, Health Officials Say

Main Category: Tropical Diseases
Also Included In: MRSA / Drug Resistance


Efforts to prevent the spread of drug-resistant malaria along the border between Cambodia and Thailand are showing signs of progress, but additional work is needed to contain the new strain, health officials said on Friday, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports.

In Cambodia, only two cases of Plasmodium falciparum malaria were identified in the province of Pailin as of mid-September, according to the Thai health ministry's Bureau of Vector Borne Disease. A total of 5,686 people were screened. "In the adjacent Soi Dao and Pong Nam Ron districts of Chantaburi province, there was a similar trend, with incidence dropping from 16 to seven from 2008 to 2009," the news service writes.

To prevent the spread of the drug-resistant strain of malaria, the WHO has been working on a containment effort with the Thai and Cambodian governments. The effort has received $22.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "But more collective regional efforts are needed to make a difference in addressing the malaria problem on the border, the WHO said in a press release Thursday," according to the news service (10/1).

"We have to be more aggressive against the deadly Plasmodium falciparium parasite, develop new interventions, improve and encourage human resource engagement, come up with new therapies, and secure the best drugs," said Charles Delacollette, coordinator of the the WHO's Mekong Malaria Programme, Bernama reports. "Winning the war against this parasite is a challenge," he said in a joint statement issued by the WHO and Thailand's Bureau of Vector Borne Disease.

Delacollette "said it was important for [ASEAN countries] to show strong commitment and ownership in the regional containment and elimination of multi-drug resistant falciparium malaria," the news service writes (9/30).

Experts Discuss Malaria Vaccine Prospects At D.C. Conference
At a malaria vaccine conference this week in Washington, D.C., Stephen Hoffman, the founder and CEO of Sanaria, discussed the "disappointing results" of the company's experimental malaria vaccine, which protected five of the 80 people who volunteered for its first clinical trial, Reuters reports.


"Tests in animals suggest that perhaps giving the vaccine intravenously might provide better protection, and Hoffman ... is planning ways to test the idea in people," the news service writes. Sanaria has used up the money it receives from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, but Hoffman plans to continue testing with money from NIH and maybe government agencies, according to the article."

The vaccine was used to immunize 80 volunteers and it was safe and well tolerated," Hoffman said in an interview. "It did, as expected, stimulate an immune response against the malaria parasite - just not nearly as much as Hoffman had hoped," according to Reuters. He said, "Right now I do need to get a lot more funds."

Groups at the malaria vaccine meeting also "presented ideas for new ways to deliver vaccines - such as Pennsylvania-based Inovio Biomedical Corp, which is using its so-called electroporation delivery-DNA vaccine approach to try to make a vaccine against malaria, as well as flu and AIDS vaccines," the news service reports. The approach makes tiny holes in the skin instead of using a needle (Fox, 9/29).


This information was reprinted from globalhealth.kff.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at globalhealth.kff.org.
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Two drown fleeing Thai border police

TWO women from Battambang province who were seeking work in Thailand drowned while fleeing Thai border authorities last week, a Cambodian border official said.

Dy Phen, deputy director of the Cambodia-Thailand Border Relations Office in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town, said the two women crossed into Thailand illegally with about 20 other migrants on the night of September 30th to look for work in Pattani province.

Thai soldiers tried to stop the car at a checkpoint about 10 kilometres inside Thailand, Dy Phen said, but the car drove through the checkpoint and then stopped after another kilometre because of a flat tyre. Thai soldiers fired warning shots into the air, and the migrants fled, he said.

Dy Phen said officials believed two women – Muon Saroeut, 59, and her daughter, 15-year-old Soeun Chantrea – leaped into a canal in an attempt to escape. “They are illegal migrants who were brought into Thailand by a broker, so they feared arrest”, he said. Both women drowned, and Thai authorities cooperated in arranging for their bodies to be repatriated yesterday, Dy Phen said.

Taing Lay, a 25-year-old prospective migrant from Kampong Cham province, and her 5-year-old daughter also dove into the canal and nearly suffered the same fate but were saved by Thai soldiers and sent back to Cambodia over the weekend, Dy Phen said.

He said that the other 20 or so migrants remain in hiding somewhere in Thailand.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday that consular officials in Sa Kaeo province were negotiating with Thai officials to seek compensation for the families of the women who died, but that they “have yet to have any result”. He said a medical examination had confirmed that the two women had drowned.

Also repatriated yesterday was the body of a 27-year-old Cambodian man, Lam Thy, who died on Saturday from injuries suffered during a fight in Sa Kaeo province, Dy Phen said. The man had been working as a guard at a market.
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