The State-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Bank of Cambodia (ARDB) has agreed to assess the feasibility of Cambodia Rice Federation’s (CRF’s) request to increase the scope of its special loan scheme for rice millers to purchase paddy during the harvest season starting next month.
CRF president Song Saran told The Post this after a meeting with the ARDB on Wednesday to discuss the current situation of the rice market and readiness for the harvest and to ascertain the most effective way to provide government loans.
He noted that CRF members are lacking the funds needed to purchase paddy from farmers to hit this year’s export target.
“We appreciate the government’s continued special loans to the rice sector, which will help us in collecting paddy from farmers in the upcoming harvest season and stabilising the price of the crop.
“With the harvest season approaching, we proposed that the ARDB increase the amount of special government loans this year as we plan to export around 800,000 tonnes, which requires us to have between $80 and $100 million,” Saran said.
At the same time, the CRF has asked the ARDB to extend its loan repayment period to 12 months to help rice millers buy paddy, he said, adding that the current period is too short and could hinder its members’ ability to purchase paddy from farmers.
ARDB CEO Kao Thach told The Post that the institution must first assess the situation of the harvest and estimate yields before forwarding the CRF’s requests to the government.
“We must have a clear understanding of whether the projected upcoming harvest yield will require us to expand loans to the rice sector or not,” he said, adding that he will submit the requests to the government if the study deems them necessary.
Cambodia exported more than 426,073 tonnes of milled rice to the international market in the first seven months of this year, climbing 38.3 per cent from 308,013 tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported this, citing data from the General Department of Customs and Excise that was extracted from phytosanitary certificates.
The Chinese market topped the list of destinations with 155,327 tonnes (accounting for 36.46 per cent), followed by European markets (144,247 tonnes; 33.85 per cent), ASEAN markets (57,064 tonnes; 13.39 per cent) and other markets (69,435 tonnes; 16.3 per cent).
Last year, Cambodia exported 620,106 tonnes of milled rice to the international market, inching down 0.97 per cent from 626,225 tonnes in 2018.