The Japanese government has agreed to provide $754,321 through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects framework to promote organic cashew nut cultivation among farmers in Preah Vihear province as well as for development of a four-year University of Physical Education Course, according to a press release from the Japanese embassy in Cambodia.
Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami said at the signing ceremony for the grant on February 12 that non-governmental organisations had received a grant of $371,000 from the organisation Hearts of Gold for the project of developing a four-year University of Physical Education Course at the National Institute of Physical Education and Sport.
“Hearts of Gold has made strong efforts at developing physical education in Cambodia through various activities such as administrative cooperation for sporting events, assistance for installing facilities for physical education, support for curriculum for physical education courses and human resource development for physical education,” he said.
He added that the organisation will support the National Institute of Physical Education and Sport to develop a four-year University of Physical Education Course by providing curriculum, training teachers and installing facilities for physical education.
He also thanked the organisation for its contributions over many years towards developing physical education in Cambodia.
“The institute will have a better learning environment for physical education. Also students in Cambodia will receive a more effective physical education,” he said.
He further stated that $382,842 from the International Volunteers of Yamagata would be provided to a project supporting smallholder farmers through contract farming of organic cashew nuts in agriculture cooperatives.
The ambassador continued that the project receiving grant money from the International Volunteers of Yamagata will continue to promote organic cashew nut cultivation and cooperative marketing among farmers in Preah Vihear province to increase their incomes and improve their quality of life.
For the final year of this three year project, three newly added agricultural cooperatives will begin operation in addition to the 10 cooperatives already established.
He said the cooperatives will try to obtain an organic certification and establish a lasting production process control system that enables each cooperative to continue with cooperative marketing and production processes and management after the project period.
He said this project that has been carried out in Preah Vihear province was in a location noted for its high poverty rate in Cambodia and measures to reduce poverty and draw attention to it were important.
Additionally, he said, creating jobs for returning migrant workers affected by Covid-19 was also a pressing issue.
“In order to solve this issue, strengthening the agricultural sector is notably important because it is one of the sectors that can potentially provide a positive solution.
“I would like to profoundly thank International Volunteers of Yamagata for their contributions over the years in developing the agricultural sector in Cambodia.
“Through this project, I hope that the livelihoods of farmers will improve through producing and selling organic cashew nuts,” he said.
He noted that recently, Cambodia has been developing rapidly but there are some challenges remaining to improving people’s livelihoods such as reducing poverty and developing society, including the healthcare sector and educational environments.
“Despite the Covid-19 spread becoming a severe problem across the world, Japan will continue to cooperate with non-governmental organisations to solve various challenging problems,” he said.
The press release said the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects started in Cambodia in 2002 to support activities by Japanese NGOs to help Cambodia’s reconstruction and development efforts at the grassroots level.
Since 2002, the Japanese government has provided over $42 million for 133 projects in Cambodia – mainly in the fields of primary education, health, agriculture and mine clearance.