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Minister of Agriculture Heads to Battambang to Talk Rice Production

BATTAMBANG: Leaders from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries met with officials and rice producers in Battambang this week to assess the current situation of rice production and sales with the goal of increasing the quality of Cambodian rice exports and stabilizing prices for farmers.

On September 10, Minister of Agriculture Dith Tina led a delegation to meet with Battambang Governor Sok Lou and owner of Cambodian Green Rice Mill, Okhna Phu Puy, to learn more about the current reality of rice prices and agricultural processes so that the ministry can advise on how to improve the market’s profitability.

In a meeting with Ghana’s ambassador in July, Dith Tina announced the ministry’s goal to focus on quality over quantity in the agricultural sector by increasing safety, reducing costs and adding high value to Cambodian products.

On Sunday’s meeting, the minister recommended rice farmers plant pure rice varieties of fragrant paddy rice and rumduol, which demand higher prices, are nationally branded crops and have high market demand. He urged farmers to use pure rice seed and buy it back at the contract price in order to help them grow a profitable market and help the national economy.

Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Im Rachana confirmed that the ministry is working closely with the private sector and the Cambodian Rice Federation to open more global markets to ensure that rice prices in Cambodia provide decent profits to both farmers and investors. She said it is also working to attract more investors to reduce farmers' costs and increase profits.

In 2022, Cambodia exported over 630,000 tons of milled rice to 59 countries, earning $414 million, while the revenue from unmilled paddy rice exports was more than double around $841 million.

The CRF has set an ambitious goal to export at least a million tons of milled rice in 2025. With three months left this year, Cambodia has only met 58% of its goal to export 700,000 tons of milled rice in 2023. Agriculture is experiencing the threat of climate change worldwide, however, with drought threatening over 34,000 hectares of rice in August alone. 

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