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July 2024

Organic rice growers enjoying consistent high prices.

Farmers showcase their harvest during the Rice Festival in Takeo province in October last year. CARDI

Organic rice continues to fetch premium prices year after year, standing strong in a market where conventional rice faces fluctuating prices. The steady performance, as reported by members of the organic rice community, highlights the appeal and growing preference for organic varieties amid global market shifts.

Cheav Vin, a community representative in Trapeang Sdok village in Takeo province’s Prey Kabbas district, said on January 9 that organic rice invariably fetches a higher price than regularly grown rice, attributing this to the meticulous care and substantial labour required in its production. 

“Because our community devoted significant attention to organic rice and it necessitates a large workforce, we have been able to sell it at a higher price than normal rice. Our community has supplied the rice to some supermarkets, while some consumers have bought it for home use,” he explained.

He added that the community began cultivating rice in 2012, with the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) providing technical assistance. The community grows three varieties of rice: Phka Rumduol, Malis Kraham and Riceberry.

Khan Vichea, head of the Trapeang Kralanh community in Kampong Speu province, which produces both conventional and organic rice, said that although not all community members produce organice rice, owing to the intensive care required for its cultivation, 30 to 40 per cent of over 100 families do. 

“We yield only three tonnes of organic rice per hectare, less than conventional rice. Therefore, we rarely plant [it], but it consistently finds a market and commands a high price,” he added.

Yang Saing Koma, the founder of CEDAC who now serves as secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, confirmed that organic rice producers are able to sell their product at higher prices. 

He highlighted the country’s suitability for organic farming and the efforts to encourage the growth and export of such agricultural products to global markets.

“Previously, Cambodia could produce about 100 tonnes of organic rice annually, but now we can produce up to 10,000 tonnes and export it at high prices,” he said.

Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, noted that organic rice production has shown significant growth. 

“We export organic rice to the EU, US and Japan. Despite global challenges, Cambodia still finds opportunities in exporting agricultural products, particularly to Chinese markets. We are actively promoting organic rice exports to more Chinese markets,” he noted.

He added that the Kingdom’s production of organic rice was limited in the past. Therefore, he and the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), the nation’s apex rice industry body, have discussed plans to expand organic production in other provinces, including Mondulkiri, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang and Kampot, in addition to Preah Vihear, the main producer of organic rice. QR Code

Published Date: January 10, 2024

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