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Germany pledges to support SME sector

Sorn Sarath / Khmer Times Share:
Cassava farmers will be one group receiving German government help. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The German government has pledged to support Cambodia’s small and medium enterprise (SME) sector to be more competitive, focusing on the agro-industry and food processing.

The pledge was made during a sector-level consultation meeting between the German and Cambodian governments on inclusive and sustainable economic development this week.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the priorities for the programme to promote the competitiveness of enterprises in Cambodia, focusing on inclusive and sustainable development, shifting from family-oriented economic development which depends on agriculture towards economic diversification and modernisation.

First Secretary in charge of cooperation at the German embassy in Cambodia, Sascha Reebs, stated that Germany will continue to support Cambodia’s rural development through projects focusing on local economic development and competitiveness.

“[It involves] supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the agro-industry, food processing and technical training by incorporating the use of technology and innovation and the involvement of stakeholders, especially the private sector,” he said.

Germany is also providing $8 million in grant funding for the programme for three years from 2022 to 2024, which is planned to be implemented in five provinces and cities – Phnom Penh, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap and Oddar Meanchey – according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).

Secretary-General of the Rehabilitation and Development Committee of Cambodia of the CDC Chheang Yanara said that Germany has been supporting local economic development in Cambodia’s northwestern provinces since 2007, which has contributed to reducing poverty in the Kingdom.

“We would like to express our thanks to the government of Germany, which has significantly contributed to Cambodia’s economic development and helped to improve Cambodian livelihoods in rural areas,” he said.

Through the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Germany has now provided support in three priority areas in Cambodia, including the rural development sector (which consists of road improvement, the agriculture sector, training in technical skills and the local economy), the health sector and governance.

According to a CDC statement, the two sides have agreed to hold political-level consultations on development cooperation between the two countries on Sept 30 to review the progress of the implementation of projects in all areas and aspects of current and future development cooperation as well as reviewing new and ongoing projects in order for Germany to consider continuing to support them in 2021.

Lay Thy, a farmer in Battambong province’s Sampov Loun district, who has farmed cassava and corn for nearly 20 years since 2002, said that his family has planted 10 hectares of land which earns enough revenue to make a living. He said farmers there never received any education in farming techniques and only follow traditional methods.

“We are very happy if we are provided technical training in farming and we may receive higher yields as well for me so I will participate,” he said.

 

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