Rice farmers from Battambang to Takeo provinces are smiling this season, with foreign buyers driving up the price of unmilled rice.
Farmers report the price of paddy rice has increased to 470 riel (about $0.12) per kg from 350 riel (about $0.09) per kg last year.
Takeo Governor Kep Chuk Tema said Monday farmers in his province were pleased this year because Vietnamese brokers were paying a higher price for unmilled rice.
“We would like the government to find us more markets for the farmers so that they are encouraged to do farming,” he said.
Dry-season rice in Takeo province could see a better harvest this year than last, the governor added.
Prices this year were better because flooding in Vietnam damaged the crops of some of the provinces bordering Cambodia, Kep Chuk Tema said.
Battambang Governor Prach Chan said the price of rice in his province was higher than in past years simply because more Thai and Vietnamese businessmen came to buy it.
“Farmers here are delighted because they have markets for their rice harvest,” Prach Chan said.
A Battambang rice broker said she had tried to buy and store as much unmilled rice as she could, despite having a mill, because the resale price was higher.
Cambodian mills often do not produce rice to meet international standards. Instead, the paddy rice is purchased by foreign brokers who mill the rice in their home countries.
A dry-season drought could still threaten 3,000 of Cambodia’s 260,000 hectares of dry-season paddy, Ministry of Agriculture Secretary of State Chan Tong Yves said.
Despite droughts and floods this year, Cambodia produced 568,000 tons of paddy rice, he said.
Chan Tong Yves attributed the increase to the use of more fertilizer and more technical know-how from farmers.