Four companies have responded to a government tender for a project to develop a mammoth rice storage and processing facility in Battambang province, a bank executive said yesterday.
Kao Thach, CEO of state-owned Rural Development Bank (RDB), said the government was seeking private-sector investment in a new rice storage facility with 200,000-tonne capacity, with an attached mill capable of processing 3,000 tonnes of paddy rice per day. The project, expected to cost $10 million, was offered to bidders with a loan facility to be provided by the RDB.
The construction of the large-scale facility aims to increase the storage and processing capacity of millers in Cambodia’s rice heartland in time for the next wet season harvest.
According to Thach, RDB will disburse low-interest loans on behalf of the government to its selected winning bidder for the construction of the facility, though the rate has yet to be decided. Once operational, the on-site storage silos will allow its operator to process paddy rice steadily over a period of time, helping to maintain the stability of paddy prices.
“This project is expected to resolve rice processing issues in Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces, and we expect the new facilities will increase the combined capacity of the three provinces to nearly 10,000 tonnes a day,” he said.
“We hope the new silo and rice storage will help to resolve these issues in time for the upcoming harvest season.”
Thach said the current capacity for Banteay Meanchey province was 1,500 tonnes a day, while Battambang province could process 3,000 tonnes of rice daily. Pursat has the lowest capacity, with 1,000 tonnes per day.
The four bidding companies, according to a press release issued by the RDB, are Thaneakea Srov (Kampuchea) Plc, Cattle Food Investment Import-Export Co Ltd, Ing Vanmao Rice Miller, and Anduriz (Cambodge) Sarl.
The bank said that investment firm Mekong Strategic Partners would evaluate the eligibility of the companies to receive the loans.
Phou Puy, CEO of Thaneakea Srov, which opened a massive centralised “rice bank” in Battambang province in 2014, told the Post that investment in rice storage space was crucial to resolving the recurring issue of surplus paddy during the harvest season.
He said for the project to be successful, however, the RDB must offer an attractive financing package.
“We hope the RDB will provide us loans with low interest rates so that we can afford to undertake the project,” he said.