The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) has called on farmers to delay their paddy sales until after the Pchum Ben festival to avoid a drop in prices.
CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng said on Wednesday that more than 80 per cent of rice millers had postponed purchases of paddy since earlier this week, which has allowed brokers to buy it at prices lower than the market rate.
“If their paddy is not [at risk of being] affected by floods or destroyed by insects, farmers should not rush to harvest. Good paddy should not be priced below 1,150-1,200 riel [$0.28-$0.29] per kilogramme,” he said.
Narum, a rice farmer in Kratie province, said prices in the province were not as high as they were last year. This time last year, he could sell paddy for between 900 and 1,000 riel per kilogramme, but must now settle for between 700 and 800 riel.
“If the price of paddy goes down like this, farmers will lose out,” he said.
Most paddy harvested in the province is immediately sold to traders, he said, adding that the unavailability of warehouses and drying facilities left farmers no choice but to sell their paddy after harvesting.
Heng Pheng, the CEO of Battambang province-based Thmor Korl Rice Import Export Co Ltd, said the paddy prices in the province this year is similar to that of last year – currently at about 1,150 riel per kg.
“Workers have gone home for the Pchum Ben holiday, so farmers should not try to collect the rice now because it will bring down prices,” he said.
Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout on Wednesday said paddy yields in the province have dropped 60-70 per cent due to a long drought compared to last year.
He said fragrant paddy is currently priced at 1,130 riel per kg and IR paddy at around 700 riel.
“Rice prices in Battambang province are fairly good, there isn’t much of a change,” he said.