Cambodia

Cambodia: Food Price Update - September/October 2020. Focus: Effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on food prices

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Situation Report
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Key findings

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly since January and continued to impact economic activities across the world. Economic growth for Cambodia is projected to have negative growth of -2% in 2020 (World Bank, October 2020).
Cambodia’s GDP growth rate is expected to contract by 4.0% in 2020 and grow by 5.9% in 2021 (ADB, September 2020).

For the global food trade, COVID-19 has impacted both supply and demand.
Several Southeast Asian countries imposed border controls, which disrupted the flow and prices of commodities. In Cambodia, the Government’s ban on rice exports in April was lifted on 20 May.
Cambodia exported 0.54 million tonnes of rice in the first ten months of 2020,

17.11% higher than last year.

In October, Cambodia received substantially higher rainfall than the longterm average (see Annex 3), which caused flash floods (see Annex 4). These floods affected nearly 176,000 households in 14 provinces, including Phnom Penh, and displaced over 14,000 households.

**In Cambodia prices have remained fairly stable for most key food commodities over the past 10 months.
Following an initial spike in prices at the end of March and beginning of April, prices stabilized by May. Some of this initial spike was likely related to the initial increase of COVID-19 cases and subsequent border closures which restricted cross-border trade.

Since May, the prices of mixed rice and duck egg have remained fairly stable, while vegetable oil decreased slightly in June and July but increased again in August until late October. Snakehead fish showed a stable price trend until late October when it decreased slightly. The price of morning glory has fluctuated since May and the price spiked following the floods in October. This is consistent with a widespread rise in vegetable prices that occurred following this event. Meanwhile, pork prices have had a slight upward trend since May until late September and showed a slight downward trend in October.

Markets appeared to be able to function as usual throughout this period, except three markets that reported disruptions due to flooding. In late October, 50% of market chiefs reported a slight decrease in customers visiting markets, a substantial drop from the 80% that reported no change at the start of the month.
Furthermore, more than 90% reported no problems in supply, although 8% reported an increase in supply prices.

In Cambodia prices have remained fairly stable for most key food commodities over the past 10 months.

Following an initial spike in prices at the end of March and beginning of April, prices stabilized by May. Some of this initial spike was likely related to the initial increase of COVID-19 cases and subsequent border closures which restricted cross-border trade.

Since May, the prices of mixed rice and duck egg have remained fairly stable, while vegetable oil decreased slightly in June and July but increased again in August until late October. Snakehead fish showed a stable price trend until late October when it decreased slightly. The price of morning glory has fluctuated since May and the price spiked following the floods in October. This is consistent with a widespread rise in vegetable prices that occurred following this event. Meanwhile, pork prices have had a slight upward trend since May until late September and showed a slight downward trend in October.

Markets appeared to be able to function as usual throughout this period, except three markets that reported disruptions due to flooding. In late October, 50% of market chiefs reported a slight decrease in customers visiting markets, a substantial drop from the 80% that reported no change at the start of the month.
Furthermore, more than 90% reported no problems in supply, although 8% reported an increase in supply prices.

Conclusion:

After the flooding in October, prices have remained fairly stable except for vegetable prices, which increased quite substantially. Prior to the flooding, prices of key commodities remained within expected seasonal fluctuation with the exception of a temporary spike in retail food prices for some fresh commodities in late March/early April 2020. Markets also appear to be functioning well, except for 3 markets that were disrupted due to the floods. So far, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flooding on food security is more likely to come from the demand side, with many households suffering economically with a loss of livelihoods and income as a result of the crisis, which in turn restricts their ability to afford a sufficient and diverse basket of nutritious foods. In response the Government rolled out on-demand IDPoor and launched a cash transfer programme since June to provide support to vulnerable households, reaching around 696,000 IDPoor households by October 2020. In addition, the Government, Cambodian Red Cross, UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and charities provided emergency assistance to flood-affected households.