Stabilising reforms for agri-markets in the works: Minister

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Agriculture minister Dith Tina visits a horse farm in Kep province on November 23. FB

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina announced on November 22 that the ministry will use aggregate measurements and reforms to address problems in the market for agricultural products.

“The use of aggregate measurements is only a means to solve temporary market problems. The ministry will use another method to ensure the sustainability or stability of the market – reforms in the agricultural sector as a whole.

 

“These include promoting cooperation among all stakeholders, and we will do this in a farm-based, technical manner, following the strategies and following market demand,” Tina said.

The agriculture minister was speaking during a visit on the progress of the Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation, Resilience and Extension (ASPIRE) in in Kep province’s Damnak Changaur district.

Tina said production and sales to market in agriculture is complicated. He explained that in the past, when there were high levels of cultivating, raising and harvesting at the same time, the market price would fall, as had happened in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces recently.

He also urged farmers to continue reducing the use of chemical fertilisers to a minimum when growing vegetables and crops to spur greater sales of agricultural products.

Fish, pig, chicken and duck farming farmers should contact expert officials and technicians to look into modern methods as Cambodia could not continue to farm traditionally or rely entirely on nature, he added.

Yang Saing Koma, a politician and agricultural expert, said the government, through the agriculture ministry, did not have specific policies and measures to solve market problems and rice prices other than setting a minimum price of 1,040 riel per kg.

 

“The long-term solution is to build a rice production chain for the benefit of farmers, stakeholders and the national economy as a whole,” he said.

He said the most important thing now is for the government to invest in private rice mills and for communities to buy rice to stockpile. The government should then buy the stockpiled rice as part of its role in stabilising rice prices and ensuring the nation’s food security.

Despite Cambodia’s agricultural sector being a priority of the government, every year farmers faced challenges when harvest season arrived, he added.

The government, however, has released capital to buy the agricultural products from farmers. Recently, through the state-run Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB), it announced additional financing of $10 million to buy rice.