The Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Communities (CCFC) are compiling the book “Fundamentals of Social Protection in the Agro-Food Sector” as a guide for those working in food production.

The work outlines the social protections that are available to farmers and farming communities, and urges the government to consider expanding the coverage of some of its programmes.

CCFC director Theng Savoeun expressed hopes on August 13 that the book would encourage the government to widen social support programmes to include smallholding farmers, saying they should receive similar benefits to garment workers.

He noted that most farmers did not have an understanding of the social protection and healthcare benefits that are available.

“We began the book at the end of last year, and aim to publish in October. We received support for the work from the Belgian government, through OXFAM Cambodia,” he said.

The CCFC organised a two-day workshop on August 9 and 10 to raise awareness of the book among its members, and to promote inclusive social protection.

Im Rachna, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said on August 13 that the ministry supports the publication of the book, noting that the work illustrates the contribution of civil society organisations to supporting farming communities.

The ministry, she added, pays close attention to farming communities. It encourages more farmers to form collectives, as this gives the members access to shared knowledge and techniques in farming, and enhances their power to deal directly with traders and brokers.

“Under the new government mandate, farmers’ collectives will be a priority. The ministry has set policies that will promote them,” she explained.

According to the CCFC, their guidebook collects technical experience and introduces planning methods. It also targets women, so they will gain the most benefit from the government’s social protection policies and laws.

“The expansion of social protection systems is one of the goals to end poverty under the Cambodian Social Protection Framework Policy 2025,” it added.