The Ministry of Commerce is conducting a feasibility study to set up an open paddy market (OPM) for paddy rice in at least two provinces to help make the rice trade more transparent, a senior official says.
Mao Thora, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce, told the Post the OPM would be established with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and officials were drafting the document to seek approval from the government.
“When all that is completed, the OPM can be opened in Kampong Thom and in Battambang or Banteay Meanchey,” Thora said, adding that any amount of the $80 million would focus on agriculture development.
He said the OPM would help to provide paddy-related information and help to provide some services to enhance the quality of farmers’ paddy, such as the establishment of dry ovens or enabling traders to gather at one place where the paddy’s price would be displayed.
“It is a wholesale site, because people can bring their outputs to keep there and traders can come, then farmers can sell there.
“The price list would be shown there. They could not talk to each other secretly. We [trade] openly.”
Sothea Ros, external relations co-ordinator at the Cambodia resident mission of the Asian Development Bank, said she did not yet know about the OPM.
She said she just knew that the ADB would be expected to approve an $80 million project related to the agriculture sector during the second quarter of next year.
According to Sothea, the Climate Resilient Rice Commercialisation Sector Development Program (SDP) is proposed to support and accelerate the efficient and effective implementation of the Strategy on Agriculture and Water (SAW) and the Policy on the Promotion of Paddy Production and Rice Export.
Tann Sokhkhor, the director of Kampong Thom province’s commercial department, said he did not yet know about the plan to set up the open paddy market.
Him Kortieth, communications officer at the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, said the open paddy market was a new initiative but it was not really important for farmers whether the OPM was set up downtown or in the province because the cost of farmers’ transportation would be higher and they did not know the competitiveness of traders.
Kortieth said the real challenge for farmers was the fact that the government lacked capital to buy their paddy rice output, resulting in traders from other countries dropping the price of local paddy rice.
He said Cambodian farmers had no choice but to sell out their paddy rice because they needed money to support their families.
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