The price of red corn in Battambang province – one of the Kingdom’s largest producers – has increased significantly at the beginning of the harvest season, but formal exports are likely to fall slightly year-on-year, according to the top provincial commerce official.
In northwestern Cambodia, red corn is typically harvested twice a year between early July and August and then again between late October and February.
Battambang provincial Department of Commerce director Kim Hout told The Post on July 26 that as the harvest stands at 10-15 per cent completion, the price of fresh corn on the cob had jumped more than 20 per cent year-on-year, to an average of 700 riel ($0.17) per kg, up from 550 riel on a yearly basis.
He said that about 80 per cent of the red corn grown in provinces bordering Thailand is exported to the neighbouring country by traders, while the rest is supplied to the local animal feed industry.
“This year’s red corn [market] is much better compared to the same period last year, but official exports to Thailand this year will likely fall somewhat,” he said.
According to Hout, the main source of export challenges stems from Thai authorities tightening border controls, imposing disinfection and a host of other phytosanitary requirements.
“At this time, every year, we’d be exporting through the KM13 [Sampov Loun] checkpoint, but now goods cannot pass through, until the phytosanitary authority gives the green light and the Thai side agrees to allow entry,” he said.
Chan Muoy, the owner of a silo storage facility and collection point in Battambang province’s northwesternmost Sampov Loun district, corroborated the price hike, noting that the per-kg price of fresh corn on the cob has risen year-on-year from 4.0 to 4.7 baht ($0.12 to $0.14), while dried kernels went from 8.2 to 9.3 baht.
But she stopped short of counting her chickens before they hatched, stressing that the prices are subject to fluctuations in the Thai market and that the harvest is still in its early stages.
“Corn farmers are getting higher prices than last year, but these are just the first stages, though the obstacles to exporting to Thailand are not particularly serious,” she said.
Provincial Department of Agriculture official Heng Sith said corn was being grown on 35,297ha this harvest season, with each hectare producing an average of four-to-five tonnes each year in two crops.
The first harvest season this year was delayed due to a lack of rainfall, he said, adding that his department expects similar yields this year as in 2020.
Meanwhile the corn harvest season in the southeastern province of Tbong Khmum is drawing nearer to the halfway point.
Provincial Department of Commerce director Sokhon Toch said the price of corn “increased slightly year-on-year” to 800-900 riel per kg for fresh corn on the cob, and 1,200 for dried kernels.
“Although I do not have a figure for the area under red corn cultivation in Tbong Khmum, I know that cultivation has been steadily increasing, as prices remain at acceptable levels for growers for two-to-three consecutive years in a row,” he said.
The greater part of the red corn grown in Tbong Khmum is taken to Phnom Penh to supply local animal feed company CP Cambodia Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), he noted, adding that most of the balance is consumed in the province or exported to Vietnam.
The Kingdom exported 140,669.13 tonnes of corn in the first half of this year, an increase of 176.44 per cent year-on-year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported.
The Vietnamese market bought the most at 97,580 tonnes, followed by Thailand’s (42,350 tonnes), Taiwan’s (676.13 tonnes), Bangladesh’s (42 tonnes) and South Korea’s (21 tonnes).