Corn prices has risen in the second season this year to 580 riels (about $0.14) per kilo, compared to 380 riels (about $0.09) in the first season mainly due to a reduction of land under cultivation, insiders said yesterday.
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Chhim Vichara, director of the Battambang provincial Agricultural Department, said this year the province planted corn on 128,000 hectares in both seasons and 116,100 hectares have so far been harvested.
“The corn price is 580 riels (about $0.14) per kilo in the second season, compared to 380 riels (about $0.09) in the first season and we estimated that we can sell about 65 percent to the neighboring country and the remaining goes to local companies to process into animal feed or other food products.
“At this time, the price is up, but the fluctuation depends largely on the neighboring country that set the price. The price is also based on the corn quality, and the farmers, who for instance, harvest corn too early in the season which causes a drop in the corn quality.
“We also require and push farmers to form communities or groups to ensure they can harvest and sell their crop at different times in order to allow us to maintain the price. This is also necessary since there are not enough silos to dry the products when the farmers harvest all the corns at once, Mr Vichara said.
The first harvesting season is from June to August and the second is from the end of October onwards, according to Mr Vichara.
Pang Vannaseth, director of Banteay Meanchey’s agriculture department, said the corn grain prices in the second season increased because of a reduction in land under corn cultivation.
“Corn farmers in my province sold corn grain from 6.5 (about 790 riel or $0.20) to 7 baht (about 850 riel or $0.21) this season, compared to 5 baht (about 610 riel or $0.15) last season and the reason is the farmers planted and harvested a smaller amount of corn this year.
“This season the Malai district planted corn covering some 200 hectares which were sold by the farmers to Thailand, the main market for corn” Mr Vannaseth said.
In the first season there were about 10,000 hectares of land under corn plantation throughout the province.
“Our farmers have turned corn farms into other crops like cassava and sesame this season, and this is the reason why corn covered a smaller area,” he said.
Keourn Sothea, a corn farmer who has 5 hectares of corn in Battambang’s Kous Kro Lor, said he harvested about 20 tonnes of corn from his farm this season benefiting from the better selling price this time.
“I sold it to local merchants at 580 riels per kilo and the price has increased because land area under corn plantation is smaller while there was a lack of corn planted in other provinces,” he said.