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Study predicts Cambodia’s rice prices may double by 2030 due to climate change

A new study warns that climate change could drive rice prices in Cambodia to nearly double by 2030 and the country's poor people will be worst affected unless the government takes action, The Phnom Penh Post Online reported on Friday.

Authored by Sukontheavy Hong and Jun Furuya, the study took historical climatic, socio-economic and rice-yield data as their benchmark, and used economic and climate forecasts to estimate future rice crops and prices through 2030.

The authors say that it is not a matter of whether rice prices will go up in coming years, but by how much in the worst-case scenario. They predict that by 2030, rice prices will have increased by as much as1.52 million riel ($370) per tonne.

When those price rises come, they argue that Cambodia's poor citizens will be hardest hit.

According to the authors, the solution is for the government to implement a rice policy that prevents violent fluctuations in rice prices. They can have procurement like in Thailand where they buy rice from farmers at fixed price and some kind of subsidy for consumers, said Hong.

Another proposal of Hong is for the government to improve irrigation system to counteract the reduced rainfall associated with climate change.

Director of NGO Live and Learn Environmental Education, Socheath Sou, said more need to be done to cope with climate change on Cambodian agriculture.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)