Cambodia is set to receive a nearly $63 million financing package from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve the formal trade and value chains of livestock and products thereof, as well as the health of the commercially-raised animals, in the capital and several provinces, in a bid to boost food security and inclusive economic growth, the multilateral lender has said.

In a December 13 statement, the ADB broke down the financing for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Cross-Border Livestock Health and Value Chains Improvement Project, the associated initiative that was approved a day earlier.

These sources are: a $50 million loan from ADB’s concessional resources, a $12 million Asian Development Fund (ADF) grant, and a $900,000 Climate Change Fund (CCF) grant.

“The ADF provides grants to ADB’s poorest and most vulnerable developing member countries [DMC] while the CCF aims to strengthen support to low-carbon and climate-resilient development in DMCs,” the statement explained.

“The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will provide a $43 million loan to the project, which will be partly administered by ADB,” it said.

The ADB added that the new project will directly benefit “at least 40,000 households” in Phnom Penh as well as Kampong Cham, Oddar Meanchey, Prey Veng, Siem Reap and Takeo provinces “by boosting investments in critical infrastructure, institutional and technical capacities, and enabling policies.

“It will also develop infrastructure in Kandal, Kampong Thom and Pursat provinces to meet nationwide needs for veterinary vaccines and artificial insemination.

“ADB’s assistance will promote climate-smart livestock production, which is an approach to transforming and reorienting livestock systems under climate change, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions per ton of meat produced; improve sustainability along the livestock value chain; and contribute to Covid-19 recovery efforts.

“It will also support the implementation of the One Health approach, which aims to sustainably balance and optimise the health of people, animals and ecosystems; strengthen private sector engagement; and help transition livestock administration toward digital management systems and information services,” it said.

Srinivasan Ancha, principal climate-change specialist for Southeast Asia at the Metro Manila-based lender, said in the statement: “The livestock subsector is crucial to sustainable rural livelihoods and food security in Cambodia, and it offers many opportunities for smallholder farmers, including women, and small- and medium-sized agribusinesses.

“Nearly all cattle and buffaloes are owned by smallholder farmers, although pig and poultry production are increasingly becoming commercialised.

“ADB’s assistance will enable the subsector to tap into high growth potential brought about by increasing domestic meat consumption resulting from economic growth, urbanisation, population expansion, trade opportunities, and progressive improvement in disease control and animal nutrition,” he said.

In January, General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP) chief Tan Phannara had told The Post that the Kingdom is 100 per cent self-sufficient in pork production, saying that this figure had been 87 per cent prior to the Covid-19 crisis. At the time, there had been no official live-pig imports from Thailand for over two months.

“With Cambodia able to supply sufficient pork for domestic consumption, we’ve suspended imports for more than two months, because importing more while having enough would saturate the market, creating heavy competition, and affecting local husbandry,” Phannara said then.

According to the GDAHP, which is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodian exports of live adult animals and products of animal origin totalled $66.13 million in 2021, surging by 40.1 per cent from the $47.18 million recorded a year earlier.

Live adult cattle, pigs and monkeys respectively amounted to nearly $4 million (down more than 50 per cent year-on-year), $470,000 (up 260 per cent) and over $20 million (down more than two per cent).

Dried and wet cattle hides were to the tune of more than $3 million (up 100 per cent year-on-year) and nearly $40,000 (down over 93 per cent).

Dried pig skins, milk, dog food and duck feathers stood at more than $300,000 (up 100 per cent year-on-year), nearly $500,000 (up 100 per cent), over $37 million (up over 100 per cent) and in excess of $180,000 (up over 336 per cent).