Khmer Enterprise, a unit under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (CPSA), a multi-stakeholder partnership platform, have entered a partnership to promote entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector in Cambodia.
Both parties have agreed to promote innovation, technology adaptation, production solutions, business skills development, academia-industry linkages and entrepreneurship in the sector as well as to exchange related information and data in order to build supporting mechanisms.
Khmer Enterprise and CPSA have also launched the Enterprise Agriculture Cooperative Incubation Programme, a three-year project that aims to create a more sustainable and productive agriculture industry.
The incubator looks to address two key main problems affecting the sector in Cambodia including low productivity and fewer youth engaging in the sector. It has two components, an incubation where youths will be trained for four months on agri-technical subjects, entrepreneurship and business skills and an apprenticeship where youths will be placed for one-year with Agricultural Cooperatives (ACs) in various provinces to assist farmers and rural communities.
Dr. Chhieng Vanmunin, CEO of Khmer Enterprise, said the agriculture sector grew 0.5 percent in 2020 amid the COVID 19 pandemic while other sectors such as manufacturing and service experienced setbacks.
He added that in this context, it is expected that the increase of innovation and business skills at community level could boost the agriculture sector to its full potential. “The Enterprise AC Incubation Programme can address the above needs by promoting entrepreneurship among youths and university students, upskilling the capacity of ACs as well as farmers and increasing innovation in the agriculture value chain,” Dr Vanmunin added.
Chan Sereiratha, Director of CPSA, said that this project, if well executed, will transform the rural economy in several ways, first by attracting youth back to agriculture and thus bringing a newer mindset and contributing to the sustainability of the sector; moreover, there will be an impact on both cross-country and rural-urban migration.
He said, “If agriculture in rural areas proves to be economically attractive, youths, women and men will be more incentivised to stay and won’t be forced to look for employment opportunities elsewhere.”
The project will engage with various stakeholders including universities, farmers’ organisations, agribusinesses, government agencies and relevant stakeholders. KE and CPSA welcome other partners to support the implementation of the project.