Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) members have received about $50 million in loans for working capital to buy paddy from farmers during the ongoing early-rice, or summer-autumn harvest season, which is expected to yield nearly three million tonnes, according to a senior CRF official.

Secretary-general Lun Yeng said the state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Bank of Cambodia (ARDB) had provided the funds to owners of rice mills, exporters and other companies among the CRF’s ranks.

“As far as we know, since the beginning of this month, they have borrowed nearly $50 million from ARDB,” he said, suggesting that the figure could actually be higher.

Chan Pich, general manager of rice miller and exporter Signatures of Asia Co Ltd, a CRF member, told The Post that his company received credit from ARDB last month as working capital to buy paddy from farmers.

“The company will be ready to borrow more to buy paddy come October-November” when the monsoon-season crop is harvested, he said, adding that Signatures of Asia plans to buy 10,000 tonnes of paddy this year.

With funds from the Royal Government, ARDB says it aims to be a source of capital for private companies and encourage them to buy paddy from farmers, with the goal of stabilising local prices of the crop and increase stockpiles to supply processing units, and the domestic and international markets.

“Under the close attention of the Royal Government and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, we have been providing credit as working capital to support rice mills, milling companies and milled-rice exporters to buy paddy harvested by farmers in all seasons, by accepting paddy stocks as collateral, in accordance with government policy,” it said.

According to the CRF, the second round of the summer-autumn rice harvest – typically between July and September – is underway, and yields are expected to reach 2.82 million tonnes from an area of 563,394ha.

The federation’s statistics indicate that the Kingdom exported 309,865 tonnes of milled rice and 2,008,241 tonnes of paddy in the first seven months of 2021, respectively worth $223.85 million and $503,09 million.