The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries considers the government’s distribution of rice seed to flood-affected farmers an essential part of ensuring food security ín the Kingdom.

At a November 30 meeting of the Joint Technical Working Group on Food Security and Nutrition, minister Dith Tina said Cambodia has developed from a food-scarce nation to a modern agricultural country with a secure food supply and the ability to export its surplus.

“Climate change and flooding recently affected food security at the household level. The government distributed seeds to the people affected, enabling them to renew rice production in a timely manner,” he said.

Thanks to the improved living standards that have accompanied the Kingdom’s socio-economic development, Cambodians are more aware of and concerned about health and nutrition, he added.

He proposed to conduct a comprehensive examination of the consumption habits of the population, especially the most vulnerable members of society. This would allow for a comprehensive educational programme to help change people’s dietary habits, which would in turn improve food security and the nutrition situation.

Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly – chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and head of the Joint Technical Working Group on Food Security and Nutrition – said the government’s socio-economic development policies would require improved food security and nutrition if Cambodia is to become an upper middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income one by 2050.

He expressed his support for the government’s seed distribution programme, saying that it not only enabled the resumption of production but also played an important part in increasing work efficiency and boosting economic growth, which advanced social progress.

According to an October report by the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), this year’s floods affected many provinces along the Mekong River and around the Tonle Sap Lake. The worst affected provinces were Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Thom and Pursat.

In late October, Prime Minister Hun Sen completed a week-long mission to distribute nearly 4,000 tonnes of rice seed to nearly 40,000 flood-affected households.

The affected farmers, relevant institutions and the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) all expressed their support for the government’s distribution of seeds.