Cambodia rice crisis signals deeper economic rot

EU tariffs, intense drought and deep debts all loom darkly over nation’s top crop and employer.

Cambodia’s beleaguered rice sector is both literally and figuratively drying up, with drought parching crops and commercial banks refusing liquidity to farmers and millers in need of loans to stay afloat.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries last year warned farmers that they may only be able plant one crop during the current dry season, which typically runs through April.

The ministry has said this could result in a smaller rice harvest year on year in 2020, a significant decline considering the rice sector is still one of the mostly rural nation’s main employers.

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