Corn prices in Pailin province dropped last week because of heavy rains, with farmers forced to sell their crops that they are unable to keep dry, farmers and officials said Friday.
The price of corn dropped to about three baht, or roughly $0.09, per kilogram last week from about 5 baht per kilogram the week before, said Phan Pich, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture.
“The middlemen give [farmers] a low price [because] the corn quality is low when there are heavy rains,” said Mr Pich.
Despite the low prices, many farmers lack dry storage and are forced to sell their corn or risk a further drop in price, he added.
“Whether they want to sell or not, they are forced to sell because they don’t have safe storage,” he said. “If they keep [the corn], it will be damaged by water.”
Mr Pich asked NGOs and the government to build a warehouse and buy drying equipment for farmers.
“In the present, they don’t have a place for storage,” he said. “If they have a warehouse and drying equipment they don’t need to worry about the low price. They can sell when the prices is high or whenever they want.”
Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said many kinds of farmers have such problems when it rains.
“It is a real issue,” he said. “It happens not only with corn but with other agricultural products.”
Mr Saing Koma encouraged farmers to work together to build warehouses and buy equipment.
“I want all the farmers to join together and make a committee to create a warehouse and then the government can give help,” he said. “If they don’t have [the will], no one can help them.”
Him Chhun, a farmer in Pailin, said farmers need financial assistance to ensure their corn stays dry.
“I want the government and NGOs to help us on this issue,” he said.