The Ministry of Agriculture will be the beneficiary of $600 million in development assistance to develop the agriculture and fisheries sectors, Minister Veng Sakhon revealed last week.
Mr Sakhon, speaking during a visit to a banana farm in Kampot province, said the assistance money has been pledged by developing partners, including the World Bank, Asia Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the European Union.
The World Bank, IFAD and the EU will each provide around $100 million, while ADB’s contribution will near $200 million, the minister said.
Mr Sakhon said the money will be used to develop the agriculture and fisheries sectors, but did not provide further details.
“The $600 million will be allocated to inter-ministries and relevant institutions to benefit the people and promote economic growth,” Mr Sakhon said.
With regards to agriculture, the funds will be used to build irrigation systems, establish more agricultural communities, and help farmers find new markets.
Tong Chantheang, executive director of the Cambodia Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (Cedac), said the assistance money will help strengthen local production and reduce imports.
“Cambodia is an agricultural nation, but we import many agricultural products. If we can strengthen agricultural production, we will be able to reduce imports. This will benefit farmers and add value to our products,” Ms Chantheang said.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said, “The government has done a good job helping farmers and developing the agriculture sector, but many challenges remain when it comes to developing agriculture.”
Some of those challenges include a limited number of seed varieties, a shortage of labour and a lack of advanced equipment for harvesting, as well as poor roads, and limited access to credit, he said.
Cambodia now has more than 1,000 agricultural communities, producing vegetables, fruits, fish and meat.