The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation have provided cash coupon assistance to around 300 farmers who have been severely affected economically by Covid-19 in order to restore agricultural productivity in four provinces between June and July.
The farmers in Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces can exchange their coupons at participating local suppliers for items such as seeds, trellis nets, fertiliser, plastic mulching, compost, drip irrigation lines and other farming equipment, SNV said in a press release on August 4.
Kean Sophea, director of the ministry’s horticulture and subsidiary crops department, told The Post on August 5: “We are very happy to support those 300 farmers who have affected by Covid-19 because they have lost their incomes during this period because the price of vegetables went down, and so forth.
“With funding supported by SNV’s CHAIN programme, we will further identify additional farmers who are being affected during this critical situation.”
The pandemic has had a serious impact on Cambodian farming and horticulture. In various sectors the market is under pressure and food production and domestic markets for the entire food supply chain have fluctuated greatly during this crisis, the press release said.
The logistic arrangements have been extremely challenging for farmers to bring their produce to market and they could not sell their harvested vegetables due to a lack of transport and stifled market access, said the press release.
Some farmers consequently lost their entire vegetable harvest while others were forced to sell their vegetables at a greatly reduced price, resulting in an economic loss.
During this time, SNV and the agriculture ministry have been providing farmers with recovery assistance through cash coupons for horticultural inputs. Small scale farmers producing for the market who want to restart commercial production are eligible for a subsidy to support the cost of inputs, it said.
“The farming recovery intervention provides support for farmers to re-establish their farm production to ensure a regular supply of vegetables to markets and to provide short-term income,” noted the press release.
Coupons were issued to farmers who displayed a strong commitment to setting up their farms. Coupons with a value of $100 were given to each of the “totally lost” harvests farmers while coupons with a value of $50 and $25 were given to “some lost” and “very little lost” respectively.
“Due to the Covid-19 virus spreading, we predicted that potentially there would be an additional 1,000 or more families affected in four provinces that we will continue supporting in terms of our Covid-19 response,” said Lim Sokundarun, SNV’s business and market development adviser.