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Minister praises project to improve farmers’ lives

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
Heifer’s AIMS project seeks to improve the livelihoods of Cambodian farmers. KT/Khem Sovannara

Minister Veng Sakhon on Thursday congratulated Heifer International for their work in Cambodia, particularly the ‘Accelerating Inclusive Market for Smallholders (AIMS)’ project, which has benefited about 35,000 vulnerable households since 2016.

Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture, met last week with Keo Keang, Heifer International Cambodia director, to learn about the progress of the programme, whose aim is to help small-scale farmers in 12 provinces increase their incomes.

The AIMS project began in 2016 and will run until 2021 with a budget of $4.7 million.

Speaking to Khmer Times on Tuesday, Ms Keang said the programme provides education and know-how on raising livestock and growing chemical-free vegetables.

“As a result of what they learn in the programme, farmers can increase their earnings by approximately $5,000 per year,” she said.

Ms Keang said the project aims to empower small-scale farmers by helping them develop the skills they need to earn higher incomes. She said this is an important part of curbing labour migration in the country.

“A chicken raised by these small-scale farmers can be sold at the market at between 16,000 ($3.90) to 18,000 riel ($4.4),” she said, adding that agents have been appointed to assist agricultural communities in ensuring products reach the market.

Heifer International Cambodia, a non-profit organization working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable community development, arrived in Cambodia in 1984 with the goal of empowering small-scale farmers and their families.

Ms Keang said the organization is looking to extend the AIMS project to 2030, aiming to reach 250,000 farmers.

“We need more funds to run the project. Kampong Cham province will also be covered by the programme, and we will expand to more areas inside the provinces where we already work,” she added.

On Thursday, Minister Sakhon said he holds the programme in high regard, saying that it produces tangible results that have an impact on agricultural communities. He said it has helped reduce poverty in the country and improved the quality of agricultural products.

“What the organisation has been doing is in line with the government’s vision to develop the country,” the minister said.

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