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ARDB Allocates $100 Million to Support Agricultural Sector Stability

by Surya Narayan
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The Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) has announced a substantial allocation of $100 million to a government-led special financing scheme. This initiative, aimed at the agricultural sector, is designed to ensure the stability of crop prices during the upcoming harvest season. Kao Thach, ARDB’s CEO, shared insights into the program, which was deliberated in a recent internal meeting, underscoring its significance in bolstering production and market reach for agricultural commodities.

Primarily targeting the rice industry, this financial support is intended to aid rice millers and exporters by providing them with the necessary working capital to procure paddy from farmers. This strategic move is expected to maintain price equilibrium, thereby safeguarding Cambodia’s food security and enhancing its export capabilities. Thach clarified that the fund is set aside for the current fiscal year, to be disbursed as a countermeasure against potential price volatility during the harvest period.

Industry stakeholders, including Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, have welcomed the initiative, recognizing its potential to alleviate purchasing constraints faced by exporters, thereby preventing price declines and ensuring a steady supply for milling and stockpiling purposes.

The intervention arrives at a crucial time, as Ky Sereyvath, an economics researcher, pointed out the challenges farmers face regarding market access and the limited availability of domestic financing. This fund is anticipated to be a pivotal tool in managing price dips that typically occur during harvest seasons, providing a much-needed buffer for farmers against market instabilities.

Parallel to this financial initiative, the Ministry of Commerce has been working towards the establishment of wholesale markets across the nation. This move aims to normalize commodity prices and broaden market access for farmers, protecting them from exploitative practices and offering a more structured and fair trading environment.

Despite a slight downturn in agricultural exports in 2023, the sector remains a cornerstone of Cambodia’s economy, with a diverse range of products from milled and unmilled rice to cassava, cashew nuts, and fruits contributing significantly to the national income. The ministry’s proactive approach in cultivating dry-season rice and implementing emergency measures underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Source: Phnompenh Post

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