The Ministry of Commerce on April 20 dispatched five trucks to seven “Red Zones” to sell food products and groceries at below-market prices during the ongoing two-week coronavirus lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province, according to undersecretary of state Pen Sovicheat.
This comes a day after Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng designated a number of villages and communes in three of the capital’s districts as "Red Zones" – where residents are forbidden from leaving their homes – just hours after Prime Minister Hun Sen revised lockdown measures for areas at highest risk of Covid-19 transmission.
The new Red Zones include Stung Meanchey I, II and III communes in Meanchey district; Chaom Chao I commune in Por Sen Chey district; and villages 14, 16 and 17 in Tuol Kork district's Boeung Salang commune.
Sovicheat said: “The five commerce ministry vehicles, along with others sent by Phnom Penh Municipal Hall, will go out this morning and sell at all seven Red Zones," he said.
He said the ministry had also instructed the Green Trade Company (GTC) to work quickly and in a timely manner to address the concerns of the people in Red Zones.
GTC was set up in 1998 to help manage and take stock of foodstuffs to properly respond to potential national and regional food crises or emergencies, and is tasked with conducting agro-product and foodstuff trade, stabilising market prices and providing additional services, as described by state media service Agence Kampuchea Presse.
Sovicheat said: "The goods on sale today are lower than the market price. These include milled rice, noodles, pure drinking water, canned fish, as well as fish and soy sauce.
“The ministry is also preparing to add some more essential goods to meet the needs of the people in these difficult times, such as dried and roasted fish, beetroots and other ideal foods with a long shelf life.
The ministry began its mobile market truck campaign to sell 50kg sacks of milled rice and boxes of noodles at below-market prices in the capital and Takhmao on April 15.
As of April 19, its vehicles have sold 297 sacks of milled rice, 1,975 boxes of noodles and 136 boxes of fish and soy sauce.