Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Farmers encouraged to branch out, diversify crops

Farmers encouraged to branch out, diversify crops

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia could run the risk of food shortages if the agricultural sector cannot support the economy. Hong Menea

Farmers encouraged to branch out, diversify crops

Cambodia would run the risk of food shortages if the agricultural sector cannot support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior National Assembly (NA) member said.

Loy Sophat, the chairman of the NA’s Committee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment and Water Resources, made the remarks at the 9th National Farmers’ Forum entitled Smallholder Farmers in the Context of Covid-19 in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.

“If we have less knowledge, we cannot expand Cambodia’s agricultural sector. In the Covid-19 crisis, without agriculture supporting the economy, Cambodia will be at high risk of [not being able to] supply local food, including vegetables, fish and meat,” he said.

Sophat said general farmers – especially smallholder farmers – should change their views and habits about production and processing. He said they should increase their skills and processing techniques to add value to products according to market demand.

Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) president Song Saran said while some parts of the agricultural sector were severely affected by competition during the pandemic, there is room for the Kingdom’s agricultural sector to prepare for competition as well as export.

Saran pointed out that while some commodities have been strongly affected in terms of prices because of limited processing capability, some crops – like rice – have seen an increase in price.

“Rice has improved because we have the infrastructure for processing and packaging which increased exports and fetched better prices. But for some of our agricultural products, we have to export raw materials, such as mangoes and cashews,” Saran said.

According to Saran, small farmers with less than 1ha of land could not continue to harvest rice during the pandemic. He said farmers should switch to growing other crops which can be sold quickly.

Yan Sreyyat, a representative of Women Farmer Champions, said market information on agricultural products and agricultural techniques has not been widely spread to farmers. There is also climate-related challenges to worry about, she said.

“We need to strengthen mutual understanding between farmers and stakeholders to mitigate the effects of climate change now and in the future,” Sreyyat said.

Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said 392 national and international organisations are actively working with farmers, government institutions and other development partners.

Vannara said his organisation has been working with farmers and relevant parties to find solutions for the agricultural sector.


  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there