Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian corn production saw slow development in 2018

Cambodian corn production saw slow development in 2018

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The price of corn was about 400 riel per kg in 2017, causing many farmers to complain about losses. Heng Chivoan

Cambodian corn production saw slow development in 2018

Cambodian corn production saw slow development last year with crop yields increasing a mere two per cent on 2017 to 715,000 tonnes, remaining far short of Cambodia’s peak in 2012 when production reached nearly one million tonnes.

According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures – endorsed by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon – Cambodian corn production amounted to 715,000 tonnes last year, up from 700,000 tonnes in 2017.

However, the USDA data highlighted a big gap compared to Cambodia’s peak in 2012 when corn production amounted to 951,000 tonnes, the highest since records began in 1960.

Sakhon said on Sunday that the Kingdom’s corn production is slowed by the fact that the crop is still grown on smaller scale family farms, while market prices fluctuate annually due to a lack of modernisation of growing and drying methods.

While corn is used mainly for feed-processing production, the minister said the old drying method of corn used by farmers cannot adequately respond to market demand.

“We hope that in the future our government will be able to subsidise [corn] to help farmers and agricultural communities to solve the issue of warehouses and drying silos so that demand can be stabilised and the price increased,” he said.

According to Sakhon, the price of corn last year ranged from 900 riel to 1,100 riel ($0.22 to $0.27) per kg for dry corn.

He added that corn is grown in the provinces along the Kingdom’s rivers – including Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Pailin and Battambang provinces – and is used mainly for exports, with only a tiny fraction consumed locally, especially in feed production.

Asked why the ministry doesn’t have its own record of Cambodian corn production, the minister said informal exports and production have impeded officials efforts and resources to compile such a record. He added that while the USDA data does not 100 per cent reflect production, it remains a reliable benchmark.

Tim Lang – a corn farmer in Sampov Loun district’s Ta Sda village in Battambang Province who grew 10ha of corn, harvesting 60 tonnes, last year – said on Sunday that unpredictable market demand is a major problem for him to expand his cultivation area.

Lang said profit from corn production was good in the 2018 harvest season as he could sell wet corn at 650 riel per kg. But, he said, the price of corn was low in 2017 – only about 400 riel per kg – with many farmers complaining about losses.

According to Lang, if the price of corn can stabilise at above 600 riel per kg, farmers will profit and it will encourage them to increase production from year to year.

“There was a big demand for corn in the 2018 harvest season and we could not have a yield as big as the demand."

“We still don’t know yet if we will expand our corn production this year even if the price improves. I will wait a bit more and see if there will be more rain,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • PM dispels lockdown rumours, gifts masks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 12 denied rumours that he will lock down the country in response to increased Covid-19 fears, referring to them as propaganda aimed at destabilising the country. In a Facebook post, he said some people had spread rumours that the government

  • SilkAir adds flight to Phnom Penh schedule

    Silkair (Singapore) Pte Ltd is increasing its flight frequency between Phnom Penh and Singapore with a third weekly flight on Saturdays, according to Cambodia Airports’ Facebook page. The other flights offered are on Tuesdays and Sundays, with an estimated Phnom Penh arrival time at 5:35pm