The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on February 9 announced that it has entered into a 40 per cent grant agreement worth $37,460 with Lekkampuoskasekor Agricultural Cooperative to provide the latter with working capital to buy and sell fresh and dried cassava from producers among its ranks.

The signing ceremony, held at the cooperative’s premises in Preah Vihear province’s Kulen district on the same day, was witnessed by Cambodia Agricultural Sector Diversification Project (CASDP) chairman and ministry deputy director for planning and statistics Hok Kimthourn and provincial Department of Agriculture director Peng Trida, the ministry noted in a statement later that day.

Diep Chom, a representative from Lekkampuoskasekor, which loosely translates from Khmer as “farmer-empowering”, said the agreement could resolve some of the issues plaguing the cooperative, such as cassava price volatility and sub-optimal financial management.

It could also remedy a lack of warehousing for dry cassava, training in advanced agricultural technologies and methods, and weighing scales, he said.

The statement pointed out that companies are buying local fresh cassava at an average price of 385 riel (9.39 US cents) per kg.

It added that the 2023-2025 business plan included as part of the agreement aims to expand the cooperative’s production of “fresh organic cassava” by an average of $6.5 million per annum, and that of dried cassava – exclusively for domestic supply – to “nearly 3,000 tonnes” a year or “more than 9,000 tonnes” for the three years, which it said could increase revenues by “over $600,000”.