ARDB approves $30 million loan to rice industry

The Agricultural and Rural Development Bank of Cambodia (ARDB) has approved $30 million in loans to the rice industry for the construction of warehouses and drying silos in four provinces, as it revealed plans to set up mobile offices in five other sites to reach rural customers. .

ARDB Managing Director Kao Thach told The Post that the bank has provided lines of credit to rice industry operators in the form of government-backed concessions for the construction of rice warehouses. , storage facilities and drying silos. The loans were provided under build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreements in the provinces of Battambang, Kampong Thom, Prey Veng and Takeo.

In a bid to further reach its rural clientele, Thach also revealed the bank’s plans to set up mobile offices in more remote and remote provinces, noting that ARDB’s head office – in the capital Phnom Penh – is too remote for those from distant destinations seeking to apply for loans. The exact provinces have not been revealed.

“ARDB also plans to set up mobile offices in five other provinces, and has already set up in nine provinces, mainly in provinces around Tonle Sap Lake and remote provinces such as Stung Treng,” he said. declared.

Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) president Song Saran told the Post that investing in the construction of warehouses and drying silos is a “good choice” as the Kingdom has significant potential to grow rice. paddy.

“Investment in the construction of warehouses and drying silos will enable the formal processing and export of our rice sector,” he said.

Saran also thanked the ARDB for “always providing credit to federation members, rice millers, rice exporters, as well as building the capacity of our local mills to be able to compete and survive for years to come, especially by increasing the number of drying silos”. , warehouses and processing plants for export [of rice]”.

Heng Pheng, a rice exporter in Thma Koul district in northern Battambang province and a member of the CRF, said a shortage of storage and drying silos “a few years ago” had sharply deflated paddy prices as it had occurred simultaneously with the rice harvest in the district – just northwest of the provincial town.

But he said that problem has “largely been solved” in recent years thanks to loans from the ARDB.

“More warehouses and drying silos will facilitate [for us to manage rice stocks] because we, the exporters, would not have to worry about the lack of storage and drying facilities. Farmers can then sell paddy at a reasonable price, and we as traders can also sell it at competitive market rates,” Pheng said.

But he warned that although the availability of storage and drying silos is no longer an issue, farmers and traders still face other problems such as rising production costs resulting from rising fuel and fertilizer prices.

According to a recent CRF report, Cambodia last year exported 617,069 tons of milled rice – worth $418 million – to 56 countries and territories, and 3,527,418 tons of paddy worth $845 million. $.95 million. The federation has set a target of 800,000 to 850,000 tonnes of milled rice exports this year, according to its president.

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