Proparco, a subsidiary of French development agency AFD, announced last week that it has granted a $14 million loan to Cambodian rice exporter Golden Rice.
The loan, it said, is meant to boost production capacities and provide funds for additional rice husk gasification equipment capable of generating one megawatt of electricity.
Husk gasification is the process by which discarded rice husks can be used to generate power instead of being discarded after the milling process.
Proparco’s announcement said the deal was inked in Singapore on June 7 and AFD hoped it would help in the drive for renewable energy while decreasing Golden Rice’s carbon footprint. No details were given on the terms of the loan or the interest rate.
This is the third loan Proparco has offered to Golden Rice. The first, for $7 million, was signed in 2009 just after the company became operational. The second loan for $10 million was signed in 2013 to facilitate the company’s expansion into new markets.
Through state-owned Rural Development Bank (RDB), the Cambodian government launched an emergency rice fund with $27 million in September 2016, allowing millers and exporters to access funds with lower interest rates compared to commercial banks.
The move came after a large protest from paddy farmers in Battambang province who suffered during a price plunge that was caused by a fall in demand from buyers.
Last August, the government injected another $23 million into the emergency fund. Up to January this year, RDB has provided $30 million in loans to 38 of the Kingdom’s rice millers.