The Asian Development Bank approved $50 million in additional financing to help boost agricultural productivity and improve smallholder farmers’ access to markets in 271 communes in the Tonle Sap basin, which is prone to natural calamities.
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“The additional financing will help the government further improve agriculture productivity, diversify the Tonle Sap basin’s economy to benefit smallholder farmers and come up with development initiatives that reflect the needs of local communities,” said ADB water resources specialist Thuy Trang Dang on Tuesday.
“Communities with more climate-resilient infrastructure can bounce back more quickly from natural disasters,” added Ms Thuy.
The additional $50 million would be used to support the development of small-scale irrigation systems and the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads, incorporating disaster risk management in their design. It will also help rural communities adopt climate-smart agricultural practices, increase farmers’ access to market data, and further develop the value chains of agriculture products.
The Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development Project was jointly approved by the government and ADB in December 2009 with a total amount of $51.15 million.
“It has since supported community-driven development in rural roads and other infrastructure and improved agriculture and people’s livelihoods in 196 communes in five provinces, including Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, and Tboung Khmum,” stated an ADB press release.
The ADB said additional support would add a disaster risk management element to the programme and help expand it to cover 75 more communes in Kampong Thom and two new provinces, Battambang and Prey Veng.
According to the ADB, the agriculture sector is important to the Cambodian economy because it employs 70 percent of rural households.