The Kingdom’s agriculture sector will continue benefiting from Australia’s aid and assistance, thanks to the new A$87 million (US$61.6 million) Cambodia-Australia Partnership for Resilient Economic Development (CAP-RED).
It is expected to be implemented following the end of the Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Value Chain (CAVAC) programme in June, which saw about A$130 million in aid spent over 10 years.
The CAVAC programme’s objective involved the achievement of improved seed quality, agricultural diversification, value chain improvement, agricultural inputs provision, agricultural markets and improving irrigation systems.
According to the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh, CAVAC, an Australian government programme has been working to strengthen Cambodia’s agricultural sector since 2010.
It has built irrigation systems in 30 locations, increased household income for smallholder farmers by boosting agricultural productivity, and enhanced capacity, trade responsiveness and diversification.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon said the programme has done a lot for the agricultural sector, particularly the irrigation system, as well as helped farmers increase household income via research and knowledge sharing on agriculture and business.
The new CAP-RED programme is aimed at diversifying Cambodia’s agricultural sector by focusing on key sectors including agriculture, infrastructure, energy and education.
The CAP-RED programme was discussed at length between Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang last month.
“The programme reflects Australia’s commitment to Cambodia’s rehabilitation efforts and Australia’s deepening support as we celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relationship between our countries,” said Kang.
Cambodia Rice Federation secretary-general Lun Yeng said that in the past, the Australian government has provided plenty of assistance to the Cambodian rice sector, from building irrigation and rice seed production systems, along with other agricultural infrastructure, to finding markets for communities.
“We have been working with CAVAC on the creation of the Malys Angkor brand and two others, which will be announced in the near future. We have also received a lot of support from CAVAC in the exhibition of Cambodian agricultural products,” he said.
Yeng expects the CAP-RED to boost Cambodia’s agricultural sector, especially in the rice sector, through infrastructure, techniques and market assistance.