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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lack of foreign funds delays launch of first agriculture census

Lack of foreign funds delays launch of first agriculture census

Lack of foreign funds delays launch of first agriculture census

Minister of Planning Chhay Than says foreign donors failed to respond

to government requests for funding bulk of national survey.

CENSUS SHAKE UP

The Ministry of Planning originally planned to begin an economic census after completion of the agriculture census, said Chhay Than. The economic census is still planned to go ahead as normal despite delays to the agriculture survey, he said. 

CONTRARY to an earlier estimation, the first agriculture census in the Kingdom will not take place this year because of a budget shortfall, Minister of Planning Chhay Than told the Post last week.

Chhay Than said officials had secured only US$1.1 million of the projected $4.2 million necessary to conduct the census. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation had committed $400,000, while the government planned to spend $700,000.

The ministry had expected to secure the rest of the funding from foreign donors but was unable to do so, Chhay Than said, adding that foreign donors had not responded to his requests for additional funding.

"We will not be able to conduct the census with only $400,000 in outside funding, so we will delay it until next year," he said.

Behind schedule

At a meeting at the Council of Ministers in September, Chhay Than said that his ministry had planned to begin the census this year.

Kith Seng, director of the Statistics and Planning Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said officials will now work with potential donor countries in an attempt to begin the census by early 2010.

He said the census, once completed, will help reduce poverty and improve the daily lives of Cambodian farmers, as the information it could provide would be used to improve existing government policies and enact new ones to help farmers use their land more efficiently.

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