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Cambodia ensures food security and rice exports

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Rice milling in Kampong Speu province. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The beginning of this season’s rice harvest has been slower than in 2019.

Tis has been brought about by drought causing slower seed-planting, resulting in some farmers having to replant and harvest has now been extended into December.

Kao Thach, director-general of the Rural Development and Agriculture Bank (RDAB), said that although the drought had impacted harvests, the government still ensures food security and that rice exports will go ahead in 2020.

After attending the meeting to monitor rain-fed rice cultivation, early-season rice harvests, and rice exports in 2020, Thach confirmed that as of August, the rice grown in the rainy season of the farmers has been faster in comparison to in 2019, despite the harvest being slower. The rice harvested at the beginning of this season yields an average of 4 tonnes per hectare.

“The river levels this year are lower than in 2019, and the water has not yet reached the floodplain areas, so farmers have switched from cultivating wet rice to cultivating rainy season rice, which extends the growing season” he added.

As a result of this cultivation, Cambodia can ensure adequate food security, and rice exports as planned, despite the rain falling early in the season, and the drought that affected some rice fields.

Dr Chou Vichit, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said that rice exports in the past seven months reached 426,073 tons, an increase of 118,060 tons (38.33 percent) compared to the same period in 2019.

“According to the results, the Cambodian Rice Federation has concluded that Cambodia’s rice exports by 2020 could reach 800,000 tons,” he said.

To achieve the target of exporting 800,000 tons of rice, the Cambodian Rice Federation has requested an additional $30 million in credit support under the government’s special program through the Rural Development and Agriculture Bank, and to apply for loans from this program for 12 months.

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