PRICE-SUPPORT POLICY NEEDED TO PROTECT CAMBODIAN FARMERS
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy last week wrote to The Cambodia Daily the
“In your January 31 article titled “Thais Ask Cambodia To Curb Cassava
Exports” (page 25) you exposed problems encountered by Cambodian
farmers struggling with falling cassava prices. You pointed to
Thailand’s request that Cambodia restricts its exports of the
agricultural produce but you didn’t explain why the neighboring
country is entitled to do so.
Contrary to the Cambodian government, which abandons farmers to market
price fluctuations and leaves them in a desperate situation, the Thai
government has been steadily following a socially oriented policy that
consists of supporting and stabilizing agricultural prices so as to
protect their farmers’ revenue and living conditions.
Every year the Thai government spends millions, if not billions, of
dollars to buy cassava (or tapioca), rice, maize and palm oil under a
well known agricultural intervention scheme and it exports, at a loss
in times of falling prices, those agricultural products in a bid to
prop up domestic prices.
The Thai government is actually subsidizing Thai farmers through a
costly price-support mechanism. Understandably, they want to reserve
benefits of its price-support policy for Thai farmers only. This is
the reason why they restrict access to the Thai market for many
Cambodian farm products for which there could be a huge price
differential between the two countries.
Many countries all over the world are doing the same as Thailand
regarding their agriculture and trade policies. The moral is that
Cambodia actually needs a responsible and caring government to
implement appropriate policies because, more than anyone else,
vulnerable Cambodian farmers deserve support and protection.
Elected Member of Parliament
Former Minister of Finance