Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China exports eyed as red corn markets thrive

China exports eyed as red corn markets thrive

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A farmer shucks red corn in Tbong Khmum district of the namesake province on August 22, 2020. Yousos Apdoulrashim

China exports eyed as red corn markets thrive

The prices of red corn have risen significantly in provinces along the Thai border as the year’s first harvest season kicks off, while Chinese investors look into exporting the pumpkin-hued cultivar to China, according to the top Battambang provincial commerce official.

Typically processed as animal feed, red corn is harvested twice a year: once between late June and August, and again from late October to February of the following year.

Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout told The Post that traders were buying fresh red corn on the cob from growers at an average of 730 riel ($0.18) per kilogramme on July 7, as the harvest reached about 30 per cent completion.

For comparison, Hout had cited 700 riel on July 26, 2021, which he mentioned had been up by 150 riel year-on-year.

He said that about 80 per cent of the red corn grown in Battambang is exported to Thailand, while the rest is bought by local companies to grind into animal feed. But that may change, Hout said, sharing that Chinese investors have recently been visiting plantations to explore the possibility of exporting the crop to China.

“I’ve met with a few companies from China that are planning to buy red corn from Cambodia in bulk, but there are still a number of problems, such as the relatively long distance to the port [in Preah Sihanouk] which will result in higher transportation costs,” he added.

According to Hout, the persistent rise in prices has prompted a considerable increase in the area under red corn cultivation, which the provincial agriculture department puts at more than 81.5 per cent year-on-year.

Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Commerce director Bouk Laychy said that, depending on humidity levels, per-kilogramme prices of fresh red corn on the cob from the northwestern province’s growers fall in the 680-740 riel range, up from 450-510 riel on a yearly basis.

On the other hand, the area in Banteay Meanchey under red corn cultivation remains on par with last year’s level of about 10,000ha, he said, adding that the grains grown in the province are usually resold in Battambang or exported to Thailand.

With insufficient silos in Banteay Meanchey, and as the first harvest falls during the rainy season, red corn in the province is mainly sold on the cob, he said, adding that rising prices for fertilisers this year were hampering production of the grains.

Chan Muoy, the owner of a silo in Battambang province’s northwesternmost Sampov Loun district, said that although current yields are generally higher on-year, per-kilogramme prices of red corn in the area have jumped up to 680-740 riel on the cob and 1,300 for dried kernels, up from 510-570 riel and 810-1,030 riel a year ago, respectively.

Although she reflected on the unprecedented nature of the price increase, Muoy cautioned that “things may change because the harvest merely started just over a week ago”, she said.

Meanwhile, Battambang provincial Department of Agriculture director Chhim Vachira insisted that the harvest was more like 10 per cent complete.

Although yields have by and large been better than last year, Vachira revealed that worms had made a notable dent in the harvest, but assured that his team pushes to avail markets for farmers and regularly visits plantations to promote planting techniques among growers and provide high-quality resilient seeds, to ensure that incomes improve each year.

The area under red corn cultivation in Battambang for the first 2022 harvest is 55,183ha, up from 30,397ha in the same period last year, according to the provincial agriculture department.

To this effect, Vachira remarked that the areas under red corn and cassava cultivation change every year.

“When the prices of red corn are high, people look to grow red corn, and when the prices of cassava are high, they grow cassava.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’