The UN food agency is set to provide a subsidy of $2.19 million, excluding technical assistance, to the Ministry of Planning for a 2021-2026 agricultural monitoring programme.

A subsidy agreement was signed by Minister of Planning Chhay Than and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative in Cambodia Antonio Schiavone at the ministry on December 9.

During the signing ceremony, Than thanked Schiavone for the FAO’s contributions to the five-year programme, which he said would provide comprehensive statistics on both smallholder farmers and large-scale investments.

He said the data would be used to assess key indicators for Cambodia Sustainable Development Goals (CSDG).

Schiavone noted that the support is motivated by FAO observations into data gaps in the agricultural sector, and that the UN agency is rolling out similar initiatives for 49 other countries.

“With the cooperation between the technical working group from the National Institute of Statistics at the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and technical working group from FAO, I am confident that we will get reliable, quality agricultural data and achieve materially better results,” he said.

The planning ministry said $5.19 million would be required to cover the costs during the programme’s lifespan, of which the government will foot “more than $3 million”.

The ministry said it has been collaborating with the FAO and other development partners since 2013 on the development of agricultural statistics systems in the Kingdom.

These partners have contributed financial and technical assistance, materials, training on data analysis and report writing, it added.