THE Rural Development Bank has received US$23 million in funding from three domestic banks, according to the state-run bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer Son Koun Thor.
The capital would in turn be loaned to rice millers to increase purchases of raw paddy during the harvest season, he said yesterday.
“The RDB will offer more loans to millers because we want to accomplish the government’s goal of 1 million tonnes of rice exports by 2015,” he said.
“We welcome any rice miller to ask for short-term loans – that is, loans for 12 months at 10 percent interest rate.”
The state-run Rural Development Bank is borrowing the capital at a 7 percent interest rate over 12 months.
Pung Kheav So, president of Canadia Bank Plc, said the largest loan to the RDB was $18 million from the Bank of Investment and Development of Cambodia, while Canadia extended $3 million and the Foreign Trade Bank some $2 million.
“We are cooperating to make loans to domestic millers to help them boost production,” he said.
“The three banks have the same goal – to help the agriculture section in Cambodia.”
He added the banks could double the level of financing over the next few years.
Lim Bun Heng, director of rice company Loran Import-Export Co, said he planned to ask for a loan from the RDB – but at a lower rate than that suggested.
“I will ask them to decrease the interest rate from 10 percent to 8 percent,” he said. “If they do not decrease interest rates, I will not borrow.”
ANZ Royal Bank had already offered him interest rates at 8 percent per year, he said.
The RDB could require more capital to extend to local rice millers to buy paddy and to improve rice milling machinery and expertise, according to Son Koun Thor.
“We won’t have problems finding an export market
because we have signed [memorandums of understanding] on rice exports with many countries,” he said.
The challenge came in improving domestic ability to produce quality rice, he said.
Cambodia ought to build a strong brand name for its exports by improving domestic processing quality.
Last month, the Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding with China on rice exports, among other deals it has signed in recent months.
Representatives from the rice industry are also planning a trip to Indonesia, which is considering importing 300,000 tonnes of the grain from Cambodia, according to officials.
The delegation – composed of at least 10 industry representatives – is set make the trip after this weekend's Water Festival.
Indonesia’s ambassador to the Kingdom Soehardjono Sastromihardjo told The Post that the nation – which has been ravaged by recent multiple natural disasters – needed around 20 million tonnes of rice every year to supply its population.