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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thailand begins to reopen border to Cambodian rice

Thailand begins to reopen border to Cambodian rice

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090216_14.jpg

Some border crossings reopened in Battambang province last week, officials say, but other provinces remain blocked

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A vendor sells rice at a market in Pailin. Thailand began to reopen its border to Cambodian rice imports last week at crossings in Battambang province.

THAILAND has reopened its border to Cambodian rice at some crossings in Battambang province, officials in the area said.

Kong Bai, governor of Phnom Proek district, said rice started moving across the border again on Wednesday at Phnom Proek and Kamrieng districts.

The Thai authorities initiated a blockade on Cambodian rice and other agricultural produce  at the beginning of this month after pressure from Thai farmers who complained that cheaper Cambodian products were undercutting the market, border officials and traders said.

"People, and businessmen, in both countries are happy with this. They [the Thais] no longer have a problem," Kong Bai said on Friday.

Rice in the area had not been stored properly, he added, meaning farmers had become concerned that stocks could be damaged should it rain.

In other areas on the border, in Banteay Meanchey and Pailin provinces, the blockade remains in place, however. Keo Narin, an officer in Military Region 5, O'Chrouv district, confirmed there was no change in Banteay Meanchey province.

"Leaders in [other] districts understand each other, meaning they are more easily able to solve problems, but local leaders in my area do not work so well together and contact is minimal," Keo Narin said.

Banteay Meanchey province Governor Ung Oeun said he will meet with Thai authorities by the end of the month in a bid to resolve the blockade, although some communication had already taken place.

"Our officials at the border have talked with [the Thais] about this, but they replied that their own crops would be sold first before Cambodian produce is permitted entry," he said. 

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