Gov’t Officials Confident About Food Supply

Despite reports of possible drought-induced food shortages in Kompong Thom and Kom­pong Cham provinces, Cambodia is expecting a rice surplus of at least 500,000 tons this year, a top planning and statistics director at the Ministry of Agriculture said.

Kith Seng said Friday that al­though rice crops in some prov­inces may be threatened by drought, the rice crop overall has been helped by recent rainfall.

“In general, we are not worrying about food shortages because the ministry made a primary assessment that the country has a surplus of about 500,000 to 600,000 tons this year,” he said.

Kith Seng added that this year’s projected rice yield tops last year’s surplus of 200,000 tons.

Last week, provincial agriculture officials said at least 1,000 families in Kompong Thom could face starvation in the next few months, because rice yield in Kom­pong Cham will likely be 10,000 tons short of farmers’ expectations.

But May Sam Oeun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agri­culture, said that after a meeting of ministry officials Thursday, he was “optimistic that Cambodia’s food security is good.”

Agriculture officials said the free-market system will ensure that food surpluses are sold to drought-stricken areas, while donations could be provided for those most affected.

“In a free market, people will get access to food supply. And the aid organizations, government and Red Cross can distribute to the needy,” Kith Seng said.

Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Disaster Man­agement Committee, was also optimistic about this year’s rice production. He added that the price has also risen compared to the previous year. He said milled rice can now be sold at about 480 riel (about $0.12) to 500 riel (about $0.13) per kg, up from about 360 riel (about $0.09) to 370 riel (about $0.0925) last year.

May Sam Oeun agreed that prices were higher, but estimated the current price of milled rice was about 410 riel (about $0.10) per kg.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.