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Rice policy analysis: What are the implications of rice policy changes in Viet Nam against Cambodia’s rice policy and rice producers in Southeastern Cambodia?

Introduction

Rice is the most important agricultural commodity of Cambodia and the source of income for approximately 85 percent of rural households. It contributes about 4.5 percent of GDP and 20 percent of the total household income. A substantial volume of surplus rice is informally exported to neighboring countries as raw paddy due to a lack of milling capacity. Paddy rice exported to Viet Nam are mainly planted in dry seasons in the Eastern and Southern areas of the country bordering Viet Nam, particularly in Takeo, Kandal, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng provinces and in Kampong Cham. Viet Nam may change its rice export policies, from high volume with low quality to premium quality for niche markets, which then would dramatically affect rice producers in Cambodia, especially those dry season producers in eastern and southern provinces.

Research objectives

To understand the changing policy landscape of the region and to provide useful information for the Cambodian government to find appropriate ways to support local producers, the objectives of this study are to:

[1] Explore the implications of rice policy changes in Viet Nam FOR rice production and rural household incomes in Cambodia in the eastern and the southern borders with Viet Nam.

[2] Assess the potential of changing rice production practices in response to changing market demands

[3] Provide policy recommendations to the Cambodian government to help rice producers avoid income shocks.

Research questions

[1] Would the rice market in eastern and southern borders with Viet Nam remain highly dependent on the Vietnamese market if Viet Nam changed its rice policy? Have rice production practices in eastern and southern Cambodia changed in response to changes of market demand?

[2] Will rice production remain the main income source of rice-producing households? Will poverty continue to decrease if rice income continues to be a significant source of household income?

[3] What are appropriate policy interventions to support rice producers in the East and the South of Cambodia?

Research areas

This study shall be conducted in three provinces which border with Viet Nam in the south of Mekong Delta – Takeo, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng. These provinces are the largest dry season rice producing areas, particularly for the IR 504 and other IR varieties, and export almost entirely to Viet Nam for milling and re-exporting to other countries.

Methodology

The study will employ a mixed method approach, including a desk study, a qualitative and quantitative analysis using a value chain analysis framework, a cost and benefit analysis and a scenario analysis.