The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Cambodia donated its archive of nearly 5,000 documents of at least 500 different types to two agricultural universities in Phnom Penh to support student research and learning.

According to a press release on August 22, the two agricultural universities benefitting from the donation are the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) and the Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture.

The publications donated to the two universities include technical analysis reports, guidebooks, reports about research studies, census reports and various other kinds of documents as well as flagship reports recording the world’s and the Kingdom’s data and information related to agriculture and its subsectors, such as animal health and production, fisheries, forestry, crops, water and the environment.

“The collection received from the FAO representative in Cambodia helps strengthen the usefulness of our school’s library. All of the publications, whether older or more current documents, are very important and will help support students on their academic journeys,” said Phin Sopheap, vice-rector of the institute.

“As a specialised agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, it was a great honour for FAO to donate its physical library in Cambodia for the use of students studying agriculture, as well as to extend access to FAO’s digital resources,” said FAO representative to Cambodia Rebekah Bell.

The donation was made as the FAO headquarters in Rome celebrated the 70th anniversary of its library.

Over 100 years ago, the library – which was formally known as the David Lubin Memorial Library – began long before the foundation of the FAO, when David Lubin founded the International Institute of Agriculture (IIA) in Rome, Italy.

The IIA preceded the FAO as the largest and first ever international organisation dedicated to agriculture and the FAO inherited the collection of the IIA library 70 years back.

Today, the FAO Library has a collection of 1.5 million volumes, including each and every publication ever issued by the FAO, serving as a safeguard for the institutional memory of the organisation.

Over the decades, the FAO Library has further acquired the publications of many scientists, great thinkers, national and international experts and researchers.

These works provide access to the important theories and studies that inform

the fields of global food security and agriculture, ensuring that anyone, anywhere can access this information.

FAO is also part of a public-private partnership called “Research4Life”, which aims to reduce the knowledge gap between high-, low- and middle-income countries by providing free or low cost access to journals and books in the fields of agriculture, environmental sciences, health and the law.