The Cambodian government has been looking to secure a stockpile of milled rice to ensure a sufficient domestic supply of the staple.
The move is another food-security measure as COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to the country.
“In the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, [we] have to [continue to] boost the agricultural sector, one of the four main pillars of Cambodia’s economy, while securing a stockpile of strategic products such as milled rice and salt,” said a government statement issued on March 31.
Alongside basic food stuffs such as rice and salt, other products classified as “strategic” are hand sanitiser gel and protective face masks. The statement was produced following an inter-ministry meeting on measures to contain and manage the COVID-19 pandemic, chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The decision to increase rice stockpiles for domestic supply was made just days after the government set a temporary ban on the export of paddy rice and white rice.
Increasing rice in stockpile for domestic supply was made after just days the government set a temporary bans on export of paddy rice and white rice.
Becoming effective on April 5, the temporary ban is aimed to ensure enough volume to cope with the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak on domestic food supplies.
Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, has called on farmers and the fishing industry to boost production to help guarantee continued food security in the country.
“Although our country is facing the slowdown of economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our agricultural industry still can ensure food security – milled rice, fish, meats and vegetables – for a long period of time,” Sakhon wrote on his Facebook page.
As of 2019, Some 7.9 million tonnes of wet season paddy rice were harvested while the milled rice export was reported at 620,106 tonnes, according to a report from agriculture ministry.