Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rice sector optimistic as harvest wraps on Rumduol

Rice sector optimistic as harvest wraps on Rumduol

A rice farmer gathers rice grains for sale after harvest season in Battambang province.
A rice farmer gathers rice grains for sale after harvest season in Battambang province. Heng Chivoan

Rice sector optimistic as harvest wraps on Rumduol

Rice farmers and millers are confident that the price for premium fragrant paddy will continue to increase over the next two weeks as the annual harvest season for Phka Rumduol wraps up. However, farmers complain that they are still facing long-standing problems that could see profits squeezed.

Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said that after the first week of the Phka Rumduol rice harvest, the cost of paddy rice would be expected to increase from 1,150 riel to 1,200 riel per kilo.

“The price of paddy rice will continue to increase over the next two weeks, and it’s more stable this year than last because of high demand,” he said, adding that the price of paddy rice suffered last year in September when Thailand flooded the rice market and prices in Cambodia fell to 700 riel per kilo.

According to Lak, the current price of paddy rice is profitable for farmers, and the most successful farmers this harvest season will be those who followed the government’s instructions on ensuring seed quality, fertiliser and pesticide control.

According to CRF, the price for paddy rice purchased from the field was valued at 1,070 riel per kilo while the price millers are paying is at 1,150 riel per kilo.

Den Srey Lim, deputy director of Agricultural Development for Battambang province’s agricultural cooperative Chamroeurn Phal, who represents 220 family farmers on 1,152 hectares of rice fields, said that she anticipated the harvest this year would be a good one.

“We are happy with the paddy rice price this year, unlike last year,” she said, referencing the protests which erupted among farmers last year when the price of rice plummeted and profits disappeared.

Chray Son, deputy director of Capital Food, said that despite heightened profits this harvest season, claims from the government that they have propped up the sector are over-exaggerated. The state-run Rural Development Bank has allocated $50 million in emergency funding for rice millers, with only $9 million utilised by the private sector as of the end of last month.

“The price of paddy rice is better than last year because farmers haven’t been harvesting all at once, leading to large stockpiles of rice without storage or drying facilities to process them,” he said. “The stable price is not due to the government’s intervention at all, but is thanks to the industry itself, which has increased the number of drying and storage facilities this year.”

He added that farmers are still facing challenges, including lack of water irrigation, which have yet to be addressed.

Va Saroeurn, president of Mongkol Agricultural Development Cooperative in Battambang province’s Sangke district, who represents 500 farming families on about 1,000 hectares of rice fields, said that farmers are still not seeing significant profits because of damage caused by unaddressed challenges including drought and rampant pests. He added that only 40 percent of his members can properly access the water system.

“Despite the high price of rice, we’re still not making much profit because we cannot access water for our fields,” he said. “Most farmers in my cooperative have lost profits this year due to low production and lack of irrigation.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement