The state-run Rural Development Bank (RDB) received a total of 10 proposals from Cambodian agricultural firms expressing interest in developing rice storage and drying facilities across three provinces using government-backed low-interest loans, a bank official said yesterday.
Kao Thach, chief executive of RDB, said six more companies submitted proposals for the $15 million finance package after the bank extended the application deadline from September 8 to September 22 due to a low response. Only four companies submitted proposals during the initial three-week call for submissions.
“Now that we have received enough proposals for selection, we will finalise the agreements and announce the [awarded] companies in October, as well as the location of the facilities,” Thach said, adding that the loans would be disbursed to only three companies.
The three proposed facilities are set to be constructed in the provinces of Kampong Thom, Prey Veng and Takeo, each with the capacity to store 50,000 tonnes of paddy rice and dry approximately 1,500 tonnes of rice daily.
The storage facilities are intended to alleviate the stress on farmers and millers when rice stockpiles begin to stack up and are expected to be operational by the start of the next harvest season in January.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said his firm submitted a proposal to build and operate a $5 million facility in Kampong Thom province on 25,000 square metres of land that would include four different warehouses.
“My proposal shows a five-year and 10-year plan that would insure the capacity of storage and stabilise the market for farmers,” he said.
Saran added that the construction of adequate storage and drying facilities was imperative if Cambodia’s rice sector hopes to compete internationally on price when dealing with government-to-government bids.
Earlier this year RDB awarded a $15 million low-interest loan to Thanakea Srov (Kampuchea) Plc, the operator of the Cambodian Rice Bank, to expand its rice storage warehouse in Battambang province.
The warehouse is set to be the first privately owned centralised storage facility with a capacity to store 200,000 tonnes of wet paddy rice and to process 3,000 tonnes of paddy rice daily.