The Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) held a consultative workshop on “Awareness of Food Systems in Cambodia” to solicit input from all stakeholders into a project aimed at improving the Cambodian food system by 2030.

The August 15 workshop aimed to gather preliminary information regarding awareness and insight of the food system in the Kingdom. Funding for the consultation – and the subsequent project – is courtesy of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

CARD vice-president Chea Samnang said the workshop presented a good opportunity for researchers, policy makers and representatives from ministries and institutions to discuss Cambodia’s latest data and scientific findings in agriculture, the environment, rural development, health, education, clean water supply and food safety – all important factors to the food system.

“Strengthening the food system is not just about having a healthy diet – it is a topic which is often raised in national and international forums. It is considered a key factor in the development of any society,” he added.

He said the government has placed a high priority on food security and nutrition and considered them as important to the development of social prosperity and equity.

In light of this, he said CARD has collaborated with the private sector, development partners and various relevant ministries and institutions to develop a roadmap towards sustainable development in Cambodia by 2030. The government approved the document in September 2021.

He added that the roadmap was based on four priorities: promote a healthy diet for all, give youth and the vulnerable energy in improving the food system, build the resilience of life, and strengthen governance and make the food system more inclusive.

“To make this food system a success, we need to work with units at the national, sub-national and community levels to achieve poverty reduction and end hunger and malnutrition,” said Samnang.

Hou Kroeun, deputy country director of the NGO Helen Keller International, said the workshop had been a success as it had brought together a wide range of parties who understood the importance of a sustainable food system in the Kingdom.

“A lot of food production is needed to ensure food security, but this issue has to do with more than just production. There is production, harvesting, processing, trade and eating, for example. This means multi-sectoral participation is needed,” he said.

He said production chains were experiencing a lack of markets, which was a concern. He also urged the greater control of food safety in the market, including street vendors, noting that food safety is a big part of the food system.