Two new rice-storing facilities in Battambang, funded through a government-led lending scheme, were officially launched yesterday.
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A warehouse capable of storing up to 200,000 tonnes of rice and a silo that can dry around 3,000 tonnes per day are now operational.
Together, they have cost $15 million, which was fully financed with a loan disbursed by the Rural Development Bank (RBD) to the Cambodia Rice Bank in April last year.
They are part of a government lending scheme that makes low-interest loans, known as ‘emergency loans’, available to agricultural firms that want to build rice storage facilities. The initiative aims to boost their storage capacity during harvest season as well as bolster paddy prices for farmers.
Kao Thach, RBD’s director-general, said the lending scheme was needed to combat a drop in the price of rice in 2016 and a lack of storage facilities across the nation.
“After the launch of the lending scheme, the price of rice has stabilised,” Mr Thach said, adding that the price of fragrant rice has reached 1,200 riel per kilogram this year, compared to 900 riel last year.
“It will boost storage and processing capacity in the country, increase the size of orders and make stockpiles easier to manage.”
In 2016, the government launched its first one-year emergency loan offer through the RDB to help the rice sector. The emergency fund for the year 2016-2017 consisted of $27 million, but for the period 2017-2018, it was increased to $50 million.
The government later announced that an extra $30 million in loans will be made available for building silos and warehouses, with the aim of stabilising the price of the commodity and protecting the livelihoods of farmers.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said the great capacity of the storage facilities will help curb the outflow of paddy to neighboring countries and millers will have at their disposal a year’s worth of rice.