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RDB set to distribute $50M to rice millers to sustain paddy market

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A woman works in a rice processing factory in Battambang province. Heng Chivoan

RDB set to distribute $50M to rice millers to sustain paddy market

The state-owned Rural Development Bank (RDB) has announced that it will distribute $50 million in loans to private rice millers to sustain the paddy market for farmers.

The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) said the funds will be used to purchase nearly 300,000 tonnes of paddy during the post-monsoon harvest season, which ends at the beginning of next year.

The additional loans come after the CRF asked the government to provide $200 million in loans to rice millers late last month.

On Wednesday, the RDB said in a statement that it had received the $50 million from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which was to be used as capital to buy paddy for additional stockpiles during the harvest season.

The funds will be released from Monday onwards to serve the agricultural sector – to stabilise prices, and for processing and export, it said.

“Rice millers and other buyers of paddy will continue to purchase the crop at reasonable prices for storage, which are to be used as collateral for the loan in accordance with the RDB’s requirements,” it said.

RDB CEO Kao Thach told The Post last week that capital shortage in the rice sector is between $200 million and $250 million. To help remedy the issue, he has called on commercial banks to lend more to the sector.

The CRF said in a statement that it hopes the loan will help rice millers and the agricultural community – especially CRF members – continue buying various types of paddy from farmers during the harvest season.

“It will help stabilise the paddy market for farmers and increase the demand from rice millers and farming communities for additional paddy to process and export to domestic and international markets,” the CRF said.

CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Sunday that its members are ready for the RDB loans to be released.

Of the CRF’s 100 rice millers, only 44 are currently able to purchase additional paddy for stockpiles, he said. “Most CRF members have already prepared their applications for the funding to buy paddy from farmers.

“These funds will urgently help address the private sector, which wants to buy more paddy, despite facing a shortage of working capital,” Yeng said.

The CRF statement called on its members to work closely with the RDB and farmers. “All farmers and farmer communities that have either finished or will soon finish their harvest and do not have a market [for their paddy], please contact nearby rice millers,” it said.

According to an official report, in the first 11 months of this year, rice exports to the international market totalled 514,149 tonnes. This was a 3.4 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, which stood at 497,240 tonnes.

China was the Kingdom’s leading export market in the first 11 months of this year, with 195,242 tonnes. The EU imported 174,397 tonnes and the Asean region 69,239 tonnes. The balance was exported to Africa and other destinations.

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