Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina has told the ministry’s sub-sector teams to find ways to utilise their skills to provide more effective service to their respective jurisdictions.

The call came as he chaired a May 17 meeting to examine an inter-ministerial draft instruction on administrative service provision by agriculture administrations at town-district level.

During the meeting, Tina suggested that they identify key skills they could use to ease the burdens of those working in the sector and increase their incomes.

He reminded them to focus on people’s health, social order and environmental sustainability. Each team should consider developing its human resources and cooperating to put the national interest first.

Pat Sovann, an agricultural technician at the French NGO GRET, said that in addition to Tina’s suggestions, he believed that improved irrigation systems are needed help the agricultural sector in Cambodia to thrive, as it would make it easier to cultivate land.

He also suggested that means be found to increase farmers’ access to working capital at attractive interest rates so they could expand their operations.

“The facilitation of new markets for agricultural products is also essential,” he added.

“Water issues and access to capital need to be considered. In addition, farmers need support to develop their skills in the areas of cultivation, the production of natural pesticides, compost and care for their crops. This will reduce their production costs significantly and are important to help develop the sector,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen recently noted that the agriculture sector is not just about transplanting or harvesting rice, or planting corn and tobacco – the sector covers many different areas that help stimulate the national economy and provide the Kingdom with food security.

He added that agricultural development needs the participation of all relevant sides, not just the agriculture ministry.

In addition, he urged relevant institutions to work hard to address water issues, develop markets, process agricultural products, select new rice varieties and provide farmers with new techniques that would boost the cultivation of agricultural crops.

“To improve their output, we must solve the problem of irrigation and improve their technical knowledge. If one hectare can feed 10 people now, let us enable farmers to feed 20 or more in future,” he said.