A UN agricultural development body presented a report evaluating their commitment of over 20 years and $189.5 million to Cambodia’s rural farmers yesterday, finding both positives and negatives in their partnership with the government.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) currently has five ongoing programs worth $138.7 million in Cambodia, mostly aimed at alleviating rural poverty and improving agricultural practices. The programs rely on cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, which has occasionally presented problems.
Some of the evaluation’s project management ratings were found to be “lower than one would expect” given the ministry’s history of working with the organisation, the report released yesterday said.
Fabrizio Felloni, deputy director of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation, was overall upbeat about the progress of the programs.
“The result of our evaluation so far is generally positive in the sense that implemented projects have been effective, improving the productivity and diversifying social income,” he said.
Meas Pyseth, deputy secretary-general at the Ministry of Agriculture, acknowledged remaining problems yesterday while praising the overall results of the programs.
“Under the IFAD fund, we received achievements through our projects, however it also has the challenges,” Pyseth said. “We still need time to change the habits of both farmers and officials, who need to learn from experts,” he said, adding that the government “still needs time to show how to use funds efficiently.”