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ASPIRE programme boosts farmers

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Agriculture officials visit ASPIRE programme farmers. VENG SAKHON VIA FACEBOOK

ASPIRE programme boosts farmers

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon announced that the ASPIRE programme launched seven years ago to promote climate-resilient agricultural techniques has supported nearly 150,000 families.

ASPIRE is administered by the ministry, with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

“This programme aims to reduce poverty and increase resilience to climate change for poor and vulnerable farmers. It has increased their production value by an average of 20 per cent and the value of their household assets by 25 per cent,” he said in a Facebook post.

Sakhon said the programme has supported 148,230 farming families – or about 103 per cent of its target – and increased the average value of their assets from $1,453 in 2018 to $2,055 in 2021.

The programme has also increased the average value of each family’s annual agricultural production from $1,206 in 2018 to $1,448 in 2021, formed 2,584 business units and prepared various policy documents relating to agricultural development. In addition, it built 416 net enclosed vegetable growing houses and 166 warehouses.

He said that last year, the programme established Cambodian Good Agricultural Practises-certified fruit and vegetable farms and expanded production of KU-50 cassava seeds on its 15ha Chamkar Leu seed farm. It supported agricultural communities by providing seeds, technical support and management of the cassava mosaic disease. It had also developed a website for e-learning programmes that would teach new techniques to community outreach agencies.

Also in 2021, the programme had created 587 agri-businesses with 23,292 members, 8,463 of them women. The businesses focused on more than 30 varieties of agricultural production – including rice, water melons, lemongrass, mushrooms, chilli peppers, berries, durians, sweet cucumbers, grapefruits, rambutans, corn, cashews, mangoes, cassava, sweet potato, sugar cane, saplings, coffee, sweet bamboos, honey, pigs, cows, goats, chickens, ducks, crabs, shrimp, fish, frogs and crickets.

“We also established a system to monitor and evaluate data on economic practices, climate change resilience of registered farmers, beneficiaries of the businesses and evaluation of business clusters,” he said.

Battambang provincial agriculture department director Chhim Vachira said that through the implementation of the ASPIRE programme, some farmers were now earning as much as $8,000 a year. Some market barriers had been removed thanks to the creation of business clusters, as buyers could now purchase directly from the source of production.

“What makes people happy is that there is now a centralised location where goods can be purchased. It reduces the time it takes to find products, and they are clean and attractively packaged,” he said.

His Banteay Meanchey counterpart Pang Vannaseth said the province had set up 101 business clusters for people to grow vegetables and raise animals since 2019. These animals include chickens, fish and frogs, with technical assistance provided to adapt their cultivation to climate change.

“We plant crops in a net house and use drip irrigation systems, for example. We aim to reduce the costs to farmers by using techniques that require less water and use net houses so they can grow year round. If they are raising animals, we provide them with different breeds and other materials as their first capital, and ensure they meet the markets demands,” he said.

He added that the department had provided 20 farmers with net houses and set up booths to collect vegetables for cleaning and packaging before their export. This year marks the end of the ASPIRE programme, so the goal of the department is to follow up on the systems that have been put in place.


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