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

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (