The Agricultural and Rural Development Bank of Cambodia (ARDB) director-general Kao Thach called on mill owners who have received loans under a special government financing scheme to continue buying paddy from rice farmers at market rates, as the rainy season enters its peak.
Thach made the remark at one of seven rice mills that he visited from September 15-17 in major rice-producing provinces, including Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin.
The purpose of the visits was to examine how effective rice mill owners are at using credit obtained through ARDB under the scheme.
Thach also urged mill owners to do their part to ensure the effective implementation of agricultural contracts, so as to stabilise the prices of paddy and maintain balance in the rice market for the benefit of farmers.
“To all mill owners, please continue to buy paddy from farmers as much as possible and follow market prices,” he said.
The owner of Ngoub Hong rice mill in Kampong Thom province told The Post that he had received a $300,000 loan under the scheme to buy paddy from farmers, noting that October marks the end of the rainy season as the month with the most rainfall.
“We plan to order paddy and fill the warehouse until full capacity, and sales have remained constant. We will not rest, we’ll buy about 300 tonnes of paddy a day at market rates,” he said.
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng in August said that as of early that month, CRF members who own rice mills and other companies had received about $50 million in special government loans through ARDB for working capital to buy paddy from farmers during the harvest season.
But that amount may be even higher, he admitted, noting that due to client confidentiality rules, “only ARDB can confirm”.
The ARDB noted in a statement last month that it has received millions in government funds to raise capital for the rice milling industry to buy paddy from farmers, stabilise paddy prices, and increase stocks to supply processing plants and meet domestic demand and satisfy export needs.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon recently revealed that in the first eight months of 2021, Cambodia exported a total of 2,726,597 tonnes of rice worth $685.15 million.
Of that, paddy accounted for 2,383,150 tonnes, surging by 85.93 per cent over the same period in 2020, and milled-rice exports were 343,447 tonnes, down by 23.37 per cent year-on-year.