Two More Districts to Receive RMC Funds
On May 08th 2013, at the first National Farmer Conference on Saving for Self-Reliance at the Cambodian Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC) in Phnom Penh, two more districts were announced as winners of 1000 million riel (about $250,000 USD) in startup funding to develop rice mill cooperatives (RMC) in 2013. Farmer leaders from the winning districts Prey Kabas and Bati of Takeo province expressed their excitement with this award.

According to Mr. Seng Neang, a farmer leader from Bati district, “this is a great achievement for our farmers to receive funding for a rice mill machine. We’ve never had a mill before, but we’ve thought and dreamed about it for a long time.” He remarked that, “farmers are losing money every year due to the low prices they get from paddy rice during harvest time, which is made worse by the need to buy milled rice at higher prices during planting time, making family farm businesses less profitable and sustainable.”

A farmer leader from Prey Kabas district, Mr. Seur Rany thanked his farmer committee members and fellow farmers for their hard work to obtain RMC funding. He is optimistic that this RMC will help his rice farmers to become more prosperous. “I hope that through the development of this RMC and profitable organic rice farming, farmers will change from selling paddy to selling milled rice all year-round, getting higher prices and other value added benefits,” he said. “Moreover, this will also encourage more farmers within the communities to do more organic rice farming,” he added.

CEDAC president, Dr. Yang Saing Koma said that it is very good to see that farmers understand the importance of the RMC initiative for regaining their district’s potential in agriculture, especially in regard to the production of organic rice. In accordance with its ten-year strategic plan (entitled S22), CEDAC is focusing on the promotion and implementation of the Sre Khloem program and the investment in a National Rice Mill Cooperative (RMC). Both CEDAC and farmer leaders are centering their focus on promoting 3 key ideas to help rice farmers become more prosperous: (1) Growing fragrant rice to sell to the market with organic SRI methods, (2) Selling milled rice instead of paddy, and (3) Allocating portions of income earned from selling milled rice to invest in a local RMC. These start up funds come from contributions made from national RMC members, which includes farmers, CEDAC, local stakeholders and other individual investors. Profits from the RMC are to be divided among shareholders.