Yardlong Bean Prices Hit Record High Due to Heatwave: Sellers


PHNOM PENH – Selling prices for yardlong beans have been reaching record levels, ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 riel (around $5 to $10) per kilogram, as a result of the heatwave that has swept across Southeast Asia in the past two months. The hot weather and lack of rain have caused harvests to drop, mechanically increasing selling prices, say farmers and retailers.

Chan Thy, a wholesaler from Kampong Speu province, said the price has been increasing gradually for the past two weeks, warning that many clients can’t afford to buy the vegetable anymore.

Prices are around 20,000 riel per kilogram on the farm, rising to 40,000 riel per kilogram on the retail shelves.

This surge in price pushed Thy to stop buying yardlong beans from farmers, as he knew he couldn’t sell them to customers.  

“I sell all kinds of vegetables, but I stopped selling yardlong beans half a month ago because the price kept rising. Some people wouldn’t dare to pay $10 per kilogram for it, so I had a hard time selling it,” he said, adding that the highest price he saw for the vegetable stood around 15,000 to 16,000 riel per kilogram.

Soy Sam Ath, another business owner, explains that the price has been rising steadily since the Khmer New Year in April, as exceptionally hot weather has made farming more difficult and led to a shortage of produce. 

Sam Ath never expected the vegetable to become that expensive, making it hard for both the consumers and sellers.

“Weather conditions have not allowed Cambodian farmers to grow yardlong beans correctly, so prices have increased. I stopped selling the vegetable as soon as I found out about the price because what I sell depends on the demand from consumers,” he said. 

“As the price keeps rising, I will face a loss of profit,” he added. 

Ten Tum, the president of Kouk Srok Green Agriculture Community in Tbong Khmum province, said the price on the farms used to be only 2,500 riel per kilogram, ten times cheaper than the current one.

Regardless, Tum remains optimistic and believes prices will soon go down again. 

“If there’s no local demand, brokers will import the beans from foreign countries in less than two weeks. So, the selling price for customers should decrease.”

Yet, the unusually high prices have triggered discontent among farmers, who find themselves unable to sell their meager harvests – after losing most of their crops due to the heat and lack of rain.

Clients complain the vegetable prices are too high. Recently, a man posted a video on TikTok criticizing high retail prices. In the video, he claimed that the expensive beans had been imported and that locally-grown beans cost only 500 riel per kilogram, even though had no proof of what he said.

But this allegation was denied by Khim Finan, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, who clarified that the high prices observed for yardlong beans were about Cambodian beans only.

“There is little [produce] left from our Cambodian farmers whose crops have suffered from the hot weather, leading to an 80-to-90 percent decline in yields compared to previous years,” he said. 

“That’s a basic economic principle: a fall in supply causes a price increase. However, it won’t last long,” he added. People will start importing vegetables from nearby countries, and new crops will be planted in Cambodia, leading prices to go down again, he added.

The spokesperson said such a commentary video, posted with solid proof, could potentially be considered social incitement, causing a misunderstanding among the public.

“I’m not sure if the man’s content was a misunderstanding or an incitement. However, such a statement spreads misleading information to the public. The false news might lead farmers to grow the crops with the hope for a high price, which might result in a loss later,” Finan added.

Originally written in Khmer for ThmeyThmey, this story was translated by Meng Seavmey for Cambodianess. 

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