'Smallholder farmers have a crucial role to play in tempering the growing pains of Cambodia’s transition to an industrialised economy, but unless something is done, they will face a land shortage in the coming years, according to the authors of a new report.
They will need land!, a report commissioned by the NGO Mekong Region Land Governance, predicts that by 2030, the amount of land required to sustain Cambodia’s smallholder farmer population will have increased by anywhere from 10 to 64 per cent of 2015 levels, or 320,600 to 1,962,400 hectares. The lead author of the report, Jean-Christophe Diepart, yesterday stressed smallholders’ importance in Cambodia'.
It's exactly this kind of modelling that limits the findings and conclusions.
Climate change is threatening the Cambodian rice industry, and it is marginalised communities that will be worst affected unless the government takes action, according to a new study.
The study’s authors, Sokuntheavy Hong and Jun Furuya, took historical climatic, socioeconomic and rice-yield data as their benchmark, and used economic and climate forecasts to estimate future rice crops and prices through 2030.
Looking at both moderate and extreme economic and climate change scenarios, they found that it is not a matter of whether rice prices will go up in coming years, but by how much. In the worst-case scenario, the authors predict that by 2030, rice prices will have increased by as much as 1.52 million riel ($370) per tonne – or 88 per cent above the price of $420 a tonne, reported in December.
Somehow the model created fails to take future development into consideration, seeing Cambodia as a separate entity with no means to exchange with the wider world.
'About 40,000 Battambang rice-farming families already suffering steep losses from a severe drought are at risk of seeing their crops wiped out entirely by devastating floods as late seasonal rains start to kick in'.
While the CRF also points to the Ministry of Commerce. The Phnom Penh Post (Aug. 15):'Rice millers and exporters were strongly urged by the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) on Friday to adhere to a code of ethics, to ensure that consumers of the Kingdom’s staple grain sold in domestic and overseas markets were not cheated by unscrupulous traders mixing supplies with lower quality rice to maximize profits.
Cambodia’s rice exports fell by 6.9 percent from the 283,825 tons in the first six months of last year to about 268,190 tons in same period this year, according to a report released by the General Department of Agriculture last fortnight.
Hean Vanhan, the deputy director of the General Department of Agriculture, told Khmer Times the drop in the volume of rice exports was partly due to millers and exporters not having enough capital to buy rice in the harvest season to store in warehouses for processing and export, as well as the flow of rice imported from Vietnam, while Thailand was releasing its rice to the market at a lower price'.
Clouds ahead'The Ministry of Commerce set up a new taskforce on Friday to address challenges faced by the Kingdom’s struggling rice industry and assess demands made by members of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), who have decried the ineffectiveness of an earlier taskforce set up by the ministry....Tang Chhong Ngy, marketing manager of rice miller LBN Angkor (Kampuchea), said the first taskforce had been highly ineffective and the second working group was created after the same issues were raised again by the CRF.“We saw many procedures at the national level but none that actually went into operation,” he said'.
'Vietnam's rice exports will enjoy a zero percent tariff to the European Union from 2018.The free trade agreement between Vietnam and the E.U. (EVFTA), which comes into effect in 2018, will allow the country to export 100,000 tons of rice each year to the E.U., quadruple the current figure....In 2013, Vietnam accounted for 3 percent of the E.U. rice market, while Thailand made up about 18 percent, Cambodia 22 percent and India 24 percent'.
Bangkok Post (Aug. 4) predicts rice pricing for the immediate future:'Professor Võ Tòng Xuân, a leading rice expert, said it was hard for Việt Nam to share the same rank as Thailand, but the country could learn from the experience of Cambodia, which has been emerging thanks to its rice winning the world’s ‘best rice’ title for three consecutive years'.
Crop output would be 10-20% up as more farmers expand rain-fed rice fields. Which in a way addresses some issues raised by the second model presented above: higher rainfall creates floods for some, but more irrigation possibilities for others.'Thailand's rice market is expected to face a price war next year as a result of oversupply that will lower prices in both domestic and export markets, while the stronger baht could hurt the competitiveness of rice shipments, exporters warn'.
The incentives were cash hand-outs and soft loans ...'About 110,000 rice-growing families whose land is not well-suited for the grain have signed up to a programme to help them switch to other crops or raising animals, Agriculture Department director-general Olarn Pithak said'.
A video on farmers rice seed research in north Thailand (Bangkok Post, Aug. 14):
'Just three months since starting production, Cambodia’s largest sugar mill is sitting idle due to a shortage of its primary input sugarcane, a provincial Agriculture Ministry official said yesterday.
Rui Feng claims its mammoth factory, which opened in April, is capable of processing 20,000 tonnes of sugarcane per day, turning it into 2,000 tonnes of refined sugar for buyers in the EU, China and India.
However, Trida said the mill had not operated at capacity and estimated that it processed just 10,000 tonnes of sugarcane before shutting down its production line in June'.
'Champassak province farmers will be supported in planting thousands of hectares of cashew nut trees after the provincial Administration Office gave the go ahead for a US$9 million Korean project.D eputy Director of the pro vincial Agriculture and Forestry Department, MrViengsaySipraphone, told Vientiane Times on Monday afternoon that G Farm Company from the Republic of Korea will spend US$6m to construct a cashew nut processing plant and other infrastructure on an area of 150 ha with an adjacent 47 ha plot for seedlings'.