Rice millers recently chosen to become recipients of short-term emergency loans to build storage facilities were asked to have the new depots and silos in operation by January next year.
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Kao Thach, director-general of the state-run Rural Development Bank (RBD) – the institution in charge of disbursing the loans – said all warehouses and silos should be completed by January next year at the latest, to be ready for the second harvest and help keep the supply and price of the commodity stable.
“I hope by January the warehouses and silos will start operation,” Mr Thach said. “We have been informed some of them will be ready by January 28.”
The RDB will select auditors to independently asses the quality of each storage facility supported under the scheme, Mr Thach added.
The loans will be disbursed next week.
Amru Rice Cambodia was awarded one of the loans and will be building silos in Kampong Thom province.
Another recipient for a loan, Khmer Food Group, was chosen to build silos in the provinces of Prey Veng and Takeo.
Song Saran, the CEO of Amru Rice Cambodia, said the time given to complete the project was shorter than he expected, but he added that his company would finish the facilities on time.
“I think we can do it, but we have to work quickly,” Mr Saran said. “We are looking for partners in the area who can help us to complete the storage facilities by January,” he said.
Amru Rice’s new storage facilities in Kampong Thom could potentially be used by companies in the sector operating in Preah Vihear and Siem Reap provinces, said Mr Saran, adding that he expected the facilities to eventually service companies operating as far as Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces.
Kim Savuth, the CEO of Khmer Food Group, said the new facilities will have a significant effect in the local rice sector.
“We often don’t have enough milled rice for export because we just don’t have the infrastructure to store it. The new depots and silos will solve this problem,” Mr Savuth said.
The government has disbursed more than $30 million in loans that have enabled rice millers to build silos and storage depots throughout the country. Loans are repaid at a five percent interest rate over a period of 10 years.
The first $15 million loan was awarded in April to the Cambodia Rice Bank and will be employed to build storage facilities in Battambang province.