It is indeed a great pleasure to be with all of our people here today. It has been a big rain that makes your traveling here a bit difficult but it is good for our dry season rice cultivation. Aside from that rain also brings water and green grass for animals and human beings in water scarce area. I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for the efforts put into making this Buddhist temple altogether.
The inauguration schedule has been so busy that I could not reserve my schedule any more and my wife also has had to skip some of her presence with me because she also has too busy schedule of her own and family matters to attend to. However, I will be away for a few days in Laos for attending the Greater Sub-Mekong Region, where the six leaders from countries in the region – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, meet together with the presence of the President of the Asian Development Bank. The first meeting was indeed in 2002 in Phnom Penh, the second one was in China and this third one will be in Laos.
You may have heard already that I went recently to Pailin – a town nearby the border with Thailand, and I may recall for you that people there are also making great development and they talk about peace too. We may remember that by 1990 we still had some Khmer Rouge intruders and that’s why we chose the term “tiger stripes” to refer to different sectors in the country where there is presence of interval actions between the Khmer Rouge and the Government forces. We now have only different political parties and religions, and freedom of press.
I am so glad that the win-win policy has been achieved so that our people could build on their achievements for the sake of our country’s betterment. Despite what we have achieved today, naturally we still want to achieve more. We have the Khmer saying that goes – ten rivers could not satisfy a sea. Literally it means, human nature would keep up the need for better thing. We have a corrugated roof house today but it would not be a bad thing to have tiled roof some other time, or to move from wooden house to concrete one.
As the price of basic food commodities and particularly rice has been universally discussed, I would like to take this opportunity to bring you some updates on this situation. In Kompong Cham, as of the moment we speak, we still have a surplus of rice of 220,000 metric tons, and from here I can tell you that Cambodia is food sufficient. What has happened is because of the demand in outside markets plus some objective factors that bring about this situation of short supply of rice. Some rice mills lost its course of market tendency coupled with opportunist psychological warfare.
Thanks to immediate actions taken by the Royal Government the price of rice has gone down a bit and this trend will keep getting better because I have instructed not only rice from the state granary but also from private stocks that we have up to 300 communities. They should provide their rice into the market and from this action, hoarding rice attempts would be rebuffed. In relation to putting a provisional halt on exporting rice for a period of two months I would like to seek understanding from our people who have produce more than their consumption level for sale as this measure will bring them loss. The Royal Government has no other choice but doing so.
This action has brought about the lower price of rice a bit and 80% of the people who grow rice are unhappy with the action. But 20% who consume rice are happy. This is a hard decision to make. I also urge our people to keep rice as much as they can in their own stock for there is a high demand for rice in the regional market. At the same time I order the Minister for Agriculture, Fish and Forestry to take a counter measure to get all the fish stock community to get ready and release fish into the market, which in any way it would help reduce the price of basic food stuff./.