Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No significant price changes expected during Pchum Ben

No significant price changes expected during Pchum Ben

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Demand for meat, fish and vegetables are expected to pick up significantly during Pchum Ben. Heng Chivoan

No significant price changes expected during Pchum Ben

Consumer prices are expected to remain relatively stable, even amid buoyant spending over the second Covid-era Pchum Ben period which kicks off this week, according to traders based in the capital.

Cambodian Buddhists will observe Pchum Ben for 15 days, which falls from September 22 to October 6 this year, the first 14 of which are enumerated as the first-through-14th Kan Ben Days, where families typically gather at pagodas, bringing food and other offerings for monks.

The main festivities will be celebrated from October 5-7, starting on the 14th Kan Ben Day and ending a day after the primary day of “great offering”, or Ben Thom, on October 6, which coincides with the new moon. The holiday is dedicated to their ancestors and is an occasion for families to get together.

At Chhouk Meas Market, in western Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, prices of a number of goods have started to creep up as Pchum Ben approaches, Hak Lai Hiek tells The Post as she packs vegetables and fish into plastic bags at her stall for a customer with a cheerful smile adorning her face.

Demand for fish, meat and vegetables will increase significantly as the time comes for customers to prepare offerings for monks, she says.

By September 20, the price of “chhlaing” catfish (Hemibagrus nemurus) had risen to 50,000 riel ($12.50) per kg, rising by 5,000-10,000 riel from the normal rate, according to Lai Hiek.

Chicken and pork have not seen any remarkable changes in prices, she notes.

On the other hand, she admits that she sells fish “at higher prices because I splurge more on them, and transport from the provinces is more expensive”.

And to the east at a typical grocery shop near Dey Hoy market in the same district, owner So Thea says the prices of all his merchandise has remained constant, motioning towards a box of instant noodles which kept its 19,000 riel price tag.

“I’m hearing most buyers say the same thing – that commodity prices are always higher during all major national festivals. But as I see it, if we [vendors] buy at higher rates, we will sell accordingly, because if we don’t, we’ll lose money, but prices cannot be raised too much either,” he says.

During the first Covid-era Pchum Ben last year, Thea’s best-sellers were instant noodles, canned fish, drinking water and other beverages, incense and candles, he points out.

But now, “a few days before the Kan Ben-Pchum Ben ceremonies, my shop is not selling as much as in other years, maybe next week sales will pick up as people start to cook for Kan Ben festivals at pagodas”, he enthuses with a slight chuckle.

Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association president Srun Pov tells The Post that demand for meat during the half-month would be marginally higher than usual, but that prices would not rise sharply.

“As things are shaping up, during the Pchum Ben season, I guarantee that the wholesale price of meat will not go up,” he says, noting that some sellers may take advantage of the occasion and raise their rates.

He notes that the wholesale price of live hogs per kg is currently in the 12,000-13,000 riel ballpark. This is a bit lower than the 13,500-14,500 riel range Pov quoted in February-March.

Pov also emphasises that there would be enough meat available domestically to cover everyone’s Pchum Ben-related needs.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,