DEMAND from foreign markets has forced rice prices to soar over the past month, and worse is yet to come, leading rice analysts have said.
On Tuesday, Phou Puy, president of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Millers Associations, said that rapid rises in grain costs, reported by vendors and rice brokers, are the result of foreign demand pushing Vietnam and Thailand into competition to buy Cambodian rice.
He said that in the past month, the cost of 1 tonne of milled fragrant rice (first grade) had risen to US$880 from $780, with jasmine milled rice (second grade) up to $700 from $660, and poor-quality milled rice topping out at $450 from $400.
“There’s no way the prices will go down,” he said.
Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), said that unmilled fragrant and jasmine rice is also becoming more expensive, rising to $336 a tonne from only $288 last month.
“This harvest season, Vietnam has rushed to buy unmilled rice from Cambodia to process at home for export,” he said, predicting rice prices would rise 20 percent next year due to shortages.