Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - $38 million food security program launched by ADB

$38 million food security program launched by ADB

$38 million food security program launched by ADB

2-story-1-30.jpg
2-story-1-30.jpg

In a bid to alleviate the worst effects of rising food prices on the

poorest of the poor, the government and the ADB have launched a new

program to help them

Photo by: GEORGIA WILKINS

Finance Minister Keat Chhon at the launch of the ADB's emergency food security package in Battambang province on Wednesday. 

BATTAMBANG

THE ASIAN Development Bank launched its US$38 million Emergency Food Project Monday, choosing Pich Chenda commune in Battambang Province to begin the first round of rice handouts to Cambodians who have been the worst affected by global increased food prices.

The distribution is the first phase of a three-year project that will also provide subsidised seeds and fertilisers to farmers, as well as set up food-for-work programs.

"From today to Wednesday next week, the project will be distributing rice to 341,894 poor people, approximately 68,000 families, living in 200 communes of the provinces around the Tonle Sap lake and Oddar Meanchey," said Arjun Goswami, ADB's country director.

Finance Minister Keat Chhon attended the launch of the project, to which the government is committing an additional $5 million.

"Through this project, targeted at Cambodian poor people, we will not only be able to alleviate their poor living conditions...but also help many poor farmers boost agricultural yields," Goswami said.

Farmers in Pich Chenda, an isolated farming community in Phnom Prek district near the Thai border, have been pushed to sell their products short as soaring food prices hit them earlier this year.

Despite being situated on prime agricultural land, they have no access to a market or their own processing facilities, and must rely on middlemen to buy their goods.  

Answer to the crisis

The governor of Battambang, Prach Chan, said that the project was "the answer to the current crisis".

"Increased food prices have worsened conditions," he said.

But others, while welcoming emergency relief, called for broader measures to be taken.

"The roads urgently need to be repaired. There is nearly no access to markets," said Deputy Governor of Battambang and provincial project manager Sun Heng.

"Farmers need loans from creditors or banks so that they can get access to production material to process their own products," he added.

Heng Rin, a 38-year-old widow who supports six children, said that the situation has gone from bad to worse since the food prices climbed.

"I am happy to receive the rice, but the bags will probably only last a few weeks," she said.

Goswami told the Post after the launch that he was aware that there were multiple sets of problems.

"It's not a crisis of availability, but a crisis of price," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to