About $750,000 will be invested in three mills in three districts of Cambodia to process organic rice.
An official said farmers from 13 provinces had begun investing in rice mills after the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) provided $750,000 to build organic rice mills in the three districts.
The mills are scheduled to be completed late this year.
The handover took place yesterday during a meeting of the self-community development conclusion (S22) in which more than 300 farmers from 60 districts across 13 provinces participated.
Pao Vuthy, a member of S22, announced that three districts had received funds to build rice mills within their area because those districts had much more savings capital.
Other districts will be provided with mills after a year.
Prey Veng province’s Kamchay Mea district has 145 million riel of capital with 1,681 members from 17 growers’ associations.
Sithor Kandal district had 150 members in 11 growers’ associations and 122.6 million riel while Takeo province’s Tramkak district had 72 million riel with 353 members in nine growers’ associations, Vuthy said.
CEDAC president Yang Saing Koma said that based on his research, Cambodia was losing millions of riel every day because most of the paddy rice it produced was being sold unprocessed.
“Through a recent study, we have learned that we lose a lot of money when we sell paddy rice,” Koma said.
“We lose 600 riel for every kilogram of paddy rice we sell. If we sell 100 tonnes of paddy rice, we will lose 600 million riel in a village.
“By selling unprocessed paddy rice, our people are helping money flow to other countries.”
The establishment of rice mills in these districts is aimed at regaining the potential within the districts, especially with the production of organic rice.
Koma said he planned to export between 200 and 300 tonnes of rice to the United States this year, adding that Cambodia’s rice exports to the US had totalled only 100 tonnes in 2012.
“We have a good market in the US. There are more than 1,000 shops that receive our rice, but our communities have not produced enough rice for stock and processing,” he said.
The three rice mills would be completed this year by the time rice harvesting began, CEDAC’s president said.
Son Kounthor, president of the Rural Development Bank (RDB), said the the bank would give more loans to communities but did not provide any details about this.
“CEDAC provides 1,000 million riel ($250.000), but my bank will help when they are [short of money],” he said.
The loan to the community was at the lowest interest rate, compared with the seven per cent interest rate for big enterprises, Kounthor said.
Cambodia had an advantage over neighbouring countries with organic rice farming because its organic milled rice could be sold for $100 a tonne more than in neighbouring countries, he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at firstname.lastname@example.org