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Prahok season opens to increase in price of fish

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Sellers process fish at the start of the prahok season in Russey Keo district’s Chraing Chamreh I commune in Phnom Penh on Sunday. Heng Chivoan

Prahok season opens to increase in price of fish

Farmers living far from the Tonle Sap River have started travelling to the capital and Kandal province to buy fish to make prahok, a fermented fish paste.

The influx of buyers came after the announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries last week of the arrival of prahok season.

However, some buyers expressed disappointment with the increase in fish price compared to previous years. As a result, some had decided to go back home and wait until late December or early January when fishermen are expected to catch more fish.

Only some people living in the capital had bought most of the fish without being too concerned over the price.

Uk Chanthy, 45, from Kampong Speu province told The Post on Sunday that she spent two days at Kilometre 6 commune in the capital’s Russey Keo district to buy fish in order to make prahok, but returned empty-handed due to the price increase.

“I have 200,000 riel ($50) and I intended to buy about 20 or 30kg of fish to make prahok, which we could store in case of emergencies. But the price of fish is very high.

“The price of small fish ranges from 3,000-3,500 riel. So, I must return home and wait for the second season,” she said, adding that fish prices last year ranged from 1,500-1,700 riel per kilogramme, half of what it costs this year.

Mat Sari, a fisherman from Kilometre 6 commune, agreed that the price of fish this year is more expensive.

“If we buy fish directly at the port, the price per kilogramme is between 2,000 and 2,500 riel. But if we buy it from a middleman who transports the fish from the port and sells them at the prahok production place, the price would be between 3,000 and 3,500 riel,” said Sari.

Sari said the fishing season this year could extend until early February of next year.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said on Saturday that the amount of fish this year had dropped due to the late arrival of the high tide and its fast ebbing, which prevented the fish from breeding.

“The scarcity in supply caused the price of fish used for prahok production to increase,” he said.

A report by the ministry released in October said only 2,540 tonnes of fish had been caught. This is equivalent to 21 per cent of the planned 12,000 tonnes to be caught this year. Compared to the same period last year, the figure was 330 tonnes lower.

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