The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that it has mechanisms in place to stabilise rice prices if necessary with a special financing package, particularly in the event of sharp, temporary declines. 

Minister spokesperson Khim Finan explained on February 26 that in a free market economy, agricultural product prices are subject to fluctuations, primarily influenced by demand and supply dynamics. However, he noted that domestic supply has less impact on export demand.

“Recent rice prices have fallen slightly because various countries in the region harvested their rice at the same time as Cambodia. This increase in international market supply has led to a price drop. This is a seasonal trend that occurs annually,” he stated.

“If dramatic price fluctuations occur due to temporary factors, potentially affecting food security, price inflation or domestic farmers’ production, we have intervention mechanisms. These include using a special financing package to stabilise the prices, aligning with the government’s fifth priority programme pertaining to the Kingdom’s agricultural sector,” he added.

However, Finan clarified that the process is temporary and used only when necessary, as it is not a long-term solution.

He added that a team of experts is monitoring developments in the sector and rice production prices to maintain equilibrium and ensure fair profits for farmers.

“When the harvest season begins, there is an abundance of rice on the market, and its prices typically fall slightly compared to the pre-harvest season. This is a normal cycle of demand and supply balance,” he said.

Chan Sokheang, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), noted that fluctuations in prices are normal in a free market, where they move according to supply and demand.

“Recently, our farmers have expressed concerns about falling wet rice prices. Currently, they have dropped slightly, but they are still higher than in previous years,” he stated.

He added that the value of rice varies due to various factors, including the harvest season, rice quality, grain dryer capacity and harvest capital.

Khan Vichea, president of the Trapeang Kralanh Agricultural Community in O’Sara commune, in Takeo province’s Tram Kak district, noted that the OM rice variety 5451 was sold from 980-1,000 riel ($0.241-$0.245) per kilogramme.

He said that although sales value of rice had decreased in late January, farmers still made a profit.

“However, if the prices drop more significantly, it might become challenging to make a profit, especially since we rely heavily on the Vietnamese market. When all farmers harvest simultaneously, prices tend to fall. We are hopeful that the prices will not decrease further in the upcoming March harvest season,” he added.

The ministry gave the breakdown of current rice prices in various provinces on February 25: Banteay Meanchey reported prices of 990-1,000 riel ($0.243-$0.245) per kg for the OM rice variety 5451, while the IR rice 555 was sold for 1,040 riel ($0.255) per kg. 

In Kampong Cham, the OM variety was priced between 990-1,050 riel ($0.243-$0.258) per kg. 

In Prey Veng, the OM rice 5451 sold for 1,030-1,050 riel ($0.253-$0.258) per kg. 

In Tbong Khmum, rice prices ranged from 1,000-1,100 riel ($0.245-$0.27) per kg, with the Sen Kra’op (SKO) fragrant rice being sold for 1,250-1,300 riel ($0.307-$0.319) per kg. 

Kampong Thom saw rice prices of 990-1,030 riel ($0.243-$0.253) per kg and SKO fragrant rice at 1,220 riel ($0.30) per kg. 

In Battambang, rice was between 980-1,020 riel ($0.24-$0.25) per kg, as per the ministry.