Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rice prices fall in Battambang



Rice prices fall in Battambang

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Flooding and bad weather have led to a 25 per cent collapse of rice prices in the province. Photo supplied

Rice prices fall in Battambang

The price of rice in Battambang province has dropped by as much as 25 per cent in recent days, pushed down by, among other things, recent flooding and wind that have lowered the grain’s quality, as well as a lack of investment by the private sector.

Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak told The Post on November 23 the fact that farmers had flocked to harvest at a time when rice millers were unable to buy it up in a timely manner also led to the plummeting price.

He said however the price decrease remained at acceptable levels because the Phka Romduol rice variety still cost one million riel ($250) per tonne.

“This price of rice is falling because its quality is not yet up to an acceptable level. After the past floods, some rice leaned into the water and became black. So, we speak about the price falling, and we forget about its quality. Its quality also affects the price.

“After the floods, the wind blows stalks of rice down to the ground. We harvest it late or we harvest it early, its grains are black. We cannot assess it overall,” he said.

Ratanak called on local farmers not to harvest rice at the incorrect time, explaining that when its quality is spoiled the rice must be sold at a lower price. He also called on the private sector to continue to invest in rice in Battambang.

“They have rice mills and rice-drying ovens and they can buy rice from farmers. Currently, they have many rice mills but less rice-drying ovens, so they can’t buy much rice from farmers,” Ratanak said.

Chhim Vichara, the director of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, acknowledged the price of rice in the province was falling – from 1,200,000 riel per tonne to between 950,000 riel and 970,000 riel per tonne, depending on the quality.

Battambang has been hit hard by flooding, he said, estimating that the floods and winds had destroyed 30 per cent of the area’s rice stalks.

He said the lack of combine harvesters was also a problem. During the floods, the owners of combine harvesters moved their machines to other provinces, making the harvesting price competitive. Previously, 1ha of rice stalks would cost 280,000 riel to harvest. Now, according to Vichara, the price has reached 350,000 riel to 400,000 riel per hectare, although the authorities have advised combine harvester owners not to increase their prices.

Seun Thouna, a farmer in Thma Koul village, said the price of rice had dropped to more than 800,000 riel per tonne. In previous years, farmers had sold it for more than 1 million riel per tonne.

“No one come to intervene in this problem because farmers have produced many quality yields. If the problem continues, farmers will be forced to spend more on their day-to-day livelihoods. They also have to pay the interest to banks because many farmers had borrowed money from banks to grow crops,” Thouna said.

“What farmers wish now is for relevant authorities to help intervene to make the rice price acceptable. The price should be more than a million riel per tonne,” he said.

Theng Savoeun, the director of the NGO Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community, said if the government does not resolve the problem of falling rice prices, it will have a serious impact on livelihoods of thousands of farming families.

He said some farmers would face the threat of selling their rice paddies to pay the interest they owe to banks. Some others would leave their homes for work in cities or migrate abroad to earn money, he added.

“To solve this problem, the government should release the national budget to buy rice from farmers and stock it so it can be milled and exported to sell abroad,” Savoeun said.

“The government should help stop brokers from lowering the price of rice arbitrarily.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and