Protectionism aimed at other crops, too: officials, traders
Photo by: Tracey Shelton
A farmer dries corn in Pailin province. Thailand has blocked Cambodian
exports of corn, rice and cassava - among other crops - following
pressure from Thai farmers.
THAI authorities have closed the border to
agricultural products from Cambodia at all checkpoints between the two
countries due to Thai farmers protesting the competition posed by
cheaper Cambodian exports, officials and traders said.
is being seen as a protectionist measure on Thailand's part, Cambodian
sources on the border told the Post that Koh Kong, Pursat, Battambang,
Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces are
all affected. Cassava and rice were being blocked - the main products
barred - and may not reach export markets, traders said. At some
crossings, corn, beans and sesame have also been barred, they said.
Thai authorities have told us they must close to imports of Cambodian
agricultural products because their people are protesting at
[government] offices against crops imported into their country because
it brings prices down," Sok Pheap, chief of the Cambodia-Thailand
Border Relations Office, said Sunday.
Cambodian dry cassava
was selling for 2.1 baht (six US cents) per kilogram Sunday compared to
2.6 baht (7.5 cents) per kilogram in Thailand. Similarly, corn was
slightly cheaper in Cambodia at 6.2 baht per kilogram - in Thailand it
was 6.8 baht per kilogram.
Early last week, some crossings had
been kept open, meaning Cambodian exports were still getting through,
but since that time the border has been completely closed to Cambodian
agricultural produce, said Sok Pheap.
They didn't tell us when they will again allow crops to be imported.
"In a meeting, they didn't tell us when they will again allow [Cambodian] crops to be imported into their country," he added.
Narin, a Cambodian army officer in Military Region 5 in O'Beichon
commune, O'Chrouv district, Banteay Meanchey province, said Sunday that
cassava, corn, rice and other crops are being stored in houses and rice
fields along the border.
"The [border] closure continues, so farmers
are trying to keep their goods from going bad in the hope the gates
will open again in the near future," he said.
the blockade, some Thai and Cambodian businessmen are continuing to
smuggle agricultural products across the border, he added, but trade is
Ung Oeun, governor of Banteay Meanchey province, said
Sunday that he has asked Thai officials in neighbouring Sa Keo province
to have a meeting at the end of this month to discuss the issue.
will ask them [the Thais] to resume normal border trade," said Ung
Oeun, adding that there had been no orders from Phnom Penh to initiate
Despite the blockade, there was
some good news for Cambodian traders. One exporter, Som Mab, said
Sunday: "I was told by the Thai authorities this weekend that they will
allow Cambodian rice to be imported into Thailand in two days' time."
In Pailin, dry cassava was already being allowed through, he added.