Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rice sector continues its struggle in first half

Rice sector continues its struggle in first half

A woman works in a rice field in Takeo province last year. Aim Valinda
A woman works in a rice field in Takeo province last year. Aim Valinda

Rice sector continues its struggle in first half

Cambodian rice exports decreased nearly 6 per cent year-on-year during the first semester, reinforcing concerns about the future of the rice industry, the Kingdom’s most important agricultural sector.

A report released yesterday by the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export showed Cambodia exported a total of 268,190 tonnes during the first six months of 2016, down 5.8 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

Hean Vanhan, deputy director-general of the agriculture department of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the decline may be a harbinger of what’s to come.

“Rice exports fell during four of the first six months of the year, which is a warning that we need to work together to solve the sector’s problems,” he said. “Rice millers don’t have enough rice in stock, and we recognise that they lack funds.”

The government agreed last week to provide up to $30 million in emergency loans to members of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) to help buoy the struggling rice sector.

Vanhan said the financing package was good, but the funds should not be simply handed out to rice millers who request assistance.

“We need to look at the capacity of rice millers before we give them a loan as some millers are facing bankruptcy because they lack capacity,” he said. “If we simply give them the money, the money will be lost.”

Rice industry experts say the sector is suffering from a number of issues, including competition from low-cost Vietnamese imports, high production costs, and millers’ lack of finance.

According to CRF president Sok Puthyvuth, who was re-elected for a second term last Saturday, the issues have already resulted in between 10 and 20 per cent of the nation’s rice millers declaring bankruptcy.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • First commercial gold mine online

    Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd on June 21 began the commercial operation of its $120 million Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, becoming the Kingdom’s first gold producer. Located in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district, the

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth