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Veng Sakhon pushes for more diversity in agriculture

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon, centre, visits a farm. KT/Khem Sovannara

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon on Saturday pushed for more diversification in production to ensure food security in the Kingdom in line with the National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition 2019-2023.

Speaking during an event to mark World Food Day 2019 in Pursat province, he called on all relevant stakeholders to continue supporting farmers and invest in processing more agricultural products to support economic growth and rural development.

Mr Sakhon noted that the government has given priority to programmes that help accelerate the achievement of sustainable development goals through the national strategy which aims to eradicate hunger, ensure food security, improve nutrition and promote the development of sustainable agricultural production to meet the global goal of eradicating hunger by 2030.

“Finding solutions related to food security and nutrition are not only among the government’s prioritised policies, but they also contribute importantly in reducing poverty and improving people’s livelihoods and welfare,” he said.

Mr Sakhon added that the government has also identified the agriculture sector as having an important role in supporting economic growth, promoting rural economic development and improving people’s living standards.

He noted that agricultural communities are also becoming an important force to bring positive changes in Cambodia’s rural socio-economic development.

“All relevant stakeholders, please continue to support the development of the agricultural sector and encourage local and foreign investors to invest more in agricultural production processing in Cambodia to support economic growth,” he said. “They should also help to ensure equity and food security, promote rural economic development, reduce migration and lessen poverty among farmers.

He said they should explore high-potential activities such as rearing livestock, aquaculture and horticulture.

Mr Sakhon also said experts should help disseminate information on appropriate and smart agricultural production techniques to farmers and encourage people to participate in planting more trees to support environmental sustainability.

Pursat provincial Governor Mao Thonin said at the event that agricultural production in the province has been improving despite challenges such as climate change, limited irrigation systems, a lack of modern agricultural techniques and farmers’ limited access to markets.

“Authorities at all levels and relevant units have been working hard to address these challenges such as by promoting the use of more sophisticated techniques through education,” he noted.

Alexandre Huynh, FAO representative in Cambodia, said at the event that farmers need better incentives to increase and diversify the production of high quality food and the government needs to adopt policies, food standards and regulations that prioritise the availability and affordability of safe and nutritious food.

He said research institutions and the private sector also need to provide the best scientific solutions to increase production, push the boundaries of knowledge and technology and positively influence the food environment.

“We also want to increase the production and consumption of high quality food through investments in agriculture, regulatory frameworks, technology and innovation,” Mr Huynh noted. “Food system transformation requires strong political commitment for collective synergy and holistic design of agriculture and food chains.”

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