- February 13, 2022 7:07 PM
- January 12, 2021 10:16 AM
- June 19, 2021 12:28 PM
PHNOM PENH – Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina urged rice millers to buy rice at a ‘reasonable price’ to ensure the livelihood of farmers in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces, where most of Cambodia’s rice is produced.
In a statement released on Nov. 17, the ministry set a floor price under which millers can’t buy rice for the upcoming harvest season, which is kicking off now as the rainy season has come to an end.
They are thus prohibited from buying rice “below 1040 riels” per kilogram, the statement wrote.
Low prices of rice are farmers’ main source of concern when the harvest season comes. As tons of rice are being collected at the same time, the selling price mechanically drops and no longer provides a sufficient income to farmers.
In recent years, farmers in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces got used to selling their yields to rice millers for only 900 riels per kilogram.
While November and December are the core of the harvest season, especially for the rice that has grown during the wet months of the rainy season – also known as “Romduol rice” – many rice growers have asked the Minister of Agriculture to help them address these market issues.
“The harvest of Romduol rice causes the mills to congest and affects rice prices,” reckoned the ministry in its statement, adding it doesn’t want such a scenario to happen “as last year.”
On Nov. 19, Dith Tina said that the ministry, in cooperation with mill owners and relevant departments, has addressed the issue of rice prices by setting out principles to maintain rice price stability in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
In the two Northern provinces, farmers warmly welcomed the news and started to sell their rice at the set price. So far, millers continue to collect heavily.
“The team continues to monitor the situation so that our farmers do not lose benefits. The solution must be a solution that involves all stakeholders,” Tina said.
He also decided to set up a working group to promote rice seed production to help reduce farmers' production costs.
Yang Saing Koma, an agricultural expert, said he wants the minister to reform the way his officials work by sending skilled agricultural officials who can work directly with farmers, focusing on providing technology and market solutions.
“The Ministry of Agriculture requires good agricultural officials to strengthen the farmers’ ability to produce more and better, to compete with imports [from neighboring countries] and develop the exports,” Yang Saing Koma suggested.
Mey Raksmey, whose husband is a farmer in Thmor Koul district, Battambang province said that every year her husband works very hard and spends a lot to plant rice. But when the harvest season comes, the price systematically goes down.
She added that she heard many farmers complain about low prices when they harvest, but decide to sell even though the price is low, as they don’t want to spoil.
“My husband has five hectares of rice and spends a lot on fertilizer, and labor forces. When the harvest season comes, he hopes to get a reasonable price for his work,” she said.
She added that she would like to see the floor price increase again in the future, as it will for sure improve their living conditions and help them pay back their debts.