Rice Farmers Concerned Over Price Slump

The annual price slump during rice harvesting season has some farmers even more ill at ease this year than in previous years.

“It’s hopeless to grow rice, when I see the rice price is going down and down. When the harvest is coming, I need money for the harvest so I have to sell it in advance, and the price has gotten cheaper and cheaper,” Battambang prov­ince farmer Kroek Chee said.

Even though his harvest yield is up this year, Kroek Chee said he can not store it for long, be­cause he must sell quickly to make up for his debts.

In November, rice was selling at between $100 and $130 per ton, but now the price per ton is down to less than $100, Kroek Chee said.

Farmers facing hardship during the December harvest is an annual occurrence in the northwest province, Battambang De­puty Governor Prak Doeun said. The rush to get rice to the traders creates a buyers’ market, the deputy governor said.

“During the harvest, farmers need money to hire workers to harvest the rice, so everyone rushes to get money,” Prak Doeun said.

It does not help that farmers put themselves in debt earlier in the season, Prak Doeun said.

“Most farmers borrow money and pay interest to the lenders when they get crops. During cultivation, they borrow money to buy fertilizer…they can not store their rice for the rainy season” when rice prices traditionally go up, he said.

One rice buyer disputed claims rice prices had gone down significantly. This year’s prices were higher than last year’s because Vietnamese businessmen have been buying more heavily, Green Trade Company general director Tes Ethda said.

But overall, Cambodian rice is in the midst of a two-year slump, Tes Ethda admitted. “Prices are unstable,” he said.


Related Stories

Latest News