To aid in the reform of Cambodia’s fisheries sector, approximately $7 million in funding has been allocated by the EU for the effort. 

The announcement was made during a meeting between EU ambassador Igor Driesmans and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina, held at the ministry’s headquarters in Phnom Penh on December 4. 

The meeting covered a broad range of topics, including sustainable farming and fishing, and was described as constructive in a press release issued by the EU’s Cambodia office on the same day.

“In our ongoing partnership in the fisheries sector, [Driesmans] has announced the allocation of €6.375 million [$7 million] in grants to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The funding aims to bolster key facets of fisheries reform, including monitoring, control, surveillance, the protection of flooded forests, conservation of marine fisheries, distribution of grants to community fisheries, as well as research and food safety,” stated the press release.

During the meeting, Driesmans expressed the EU’s commitment to supporting progress in agri-food safety, aiming to enhance the quality of products produced within Cambodia and to meet regional and international market demands. 

“This could offer new market opportunities for Cambodian products and create jobs”, he said.

Tina acknowledged the global challenges facing the agriculture sector and emphasised the need for strong partnerships, like that with the EU, to overcome these obstacles and transform them into opportunities. 

He reaffirmed the ministry’s dedication to supporting sustainable development in both inland and marine fisheries, benefiting fishermen, aquaculture farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers. 

“We are also committed to the protection and conservation of our aquatic habitats and resources”, he said. 

The CAPFISH-Capture programme, launched in 2019 with an investment of €112 million ($121 million), was highlighted as the most significant initiative by the EU to support the fisheries sector in a partner country, including Cambodia. Managed by the ministry’s Fisheries Administration (FiA), the effort supports all aspects of the national fisheries strategy until 2025.

According to a social media post by the ministry, Tina underscored the strategy to transition from freshwater fishing to aquaculture, a move aimed at enhancing income and sustaining livelihoods, and detailed the ministry’s comprehensive plan for the sustainable management of marine resources.

Tina highlighted the ministry’s key policy for the sector, which concentrates on developing modern agricultural communities equipped with the necessary capital and human resources. 

The approach is intended to facilitate the production of large-scale, high-quality and safe products, ensuring that farmers can produce goods with high value addition and in accordance with market demand.

The minister updated Driesmans on the deployment of 1,600 commune agricultural extension officers to assist farmers with technical and other issues promptly and effectively, promoting the production and processing of key products like rice, cashew, pepper and vegetables. 

He said the ministry welcomed all development and investment projects aligned with these priority policies, and assured that the authority would facilitate smooth and efficient agricultural development in the Kingdom.