Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia rice yields lowest

Cambodia rice yields lowest

A rice farmer in Kandal province in March
A rice farmer in Kandal province in March. An Asian Development Bank report has found that Cambodia’s rice industry remains hindered by the size of cultivation land and an absence of domestic milling facilities as well as irrigation. Hong Menea

Cambodia rice yields lowest

Cambodia's rice industry remains hindered by the size of cultivation land and an absence of domestic milling facilities as well as irrigation, according to an Asia Development Bank (ADB) report launched this week.

The ADB’s study, released Tuesday and titled Improving Rice Production and Commercialization in Cambodia, states that Cambodia’s average rice yield ranks the lowest among almost all Southeast Asian nations.

Cambodian rice yields currently stand at 3.3 tonnes per hectare, according to the report, which took into account survey results from 750 households across 18 communes in Battambang, Kampong Thom and Takeo provinces.

Meanwhile, Vietnam produces around 6.2 tonnes per hectare, Indonesia produces about 5.7 tonnes, the Philippines 4.3 tonnes, Laos 4.1 tonnes, and Thailand 3.5 tonnes per hectare.

“Area cultivated by farm/farm size is [the] most important determinant of improved production and commercialization,” the report, which was presented in Phnom Penh by ADB country director Eric Sidgwick on Tuesday, states.

The study concludes that agricultural productivity in Cambodia would increase with strengthened land titling and skills development efforts from the Cambodian government, and improved access to finance, which in turn could prompt investment in irrigation and domestic milling.

“In our meeting just last week with the private sector, the same issues have been raised. We cannot solve all the problems at once,” Hean Vann Horn, deputy director general of the General Directorate of Agriculture, said yesterday.

“But the government has been focusing on a more long term action plan, of which increasing rice production has been prioritised, followed by paddy collection and processing, simplified rice exporting processes and finally market planning,” Horn reasoned.

Horn said that the foremost challenge for the industry is the lack of capital for exporters to stock paddy rice. As a direct consequence, paddy flows to neighbouring countries more rapidly as farmers scramble for finances during the harvest.

According to the ADB report, 44 per cent of respondents said they had no access to irrigation systems. Meanwhile, only 14 per cent said they had access to high-yield rice seeds and only five per cent said they were aware of regional and even domestic market prices.

Srey Chanthy, independent economist, said the ADB report’s findings were not surprising and represent the same issues that have been plaguing Cambodia’s rice industry for almost two decades.

“If we thought we had all the answers, then why is the issue still there? We have to ask how policy is being implemented,” Chanthy said, adding that little domestic revenue is spent on strengthening the agriculture sector.

Chanthy said improving knowledge and skills in farming should be the first priority for the Cambodian government. He called for commercial banks and microfinance institutions to increase the amount of credit available to the fledgling industry from an estimated $800 million to more than $1 billion.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade