The US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest II project has generated $28 million in new private sector investments, created more than 2,500 jobs, supported the development of 17 government agricultural policies and helped horticultural businesses and producers generate over $75 million worth of incremental sales over the past five years.
According to the USAID press release, Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest II also accelerated the growth of Cambodia’s commercial horticulture in Pursat, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom and other provinces.
The project – funded by the US government’s Feed the Future Initiative through USAID while operating between 2017 and 2022 – worked with government counterparts, development partners, private companies, agricultural cooperatives and producers to promote sustainable growth in the horticulture sector.
USAID and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries jointly conducted a press conference on May 10 in Phnom Penh to celebrate the project wrapping-up after five years of achievements and success in horticulture through new partnerships, products and markets.
USAID Cambodia mission director Nancy Eslick said the Harvest II project partnered with Cambodian agribusinesses, producers and government counterparts to develop 140 new agricultural products for domestic and international markets.
“We are proud of the real progress we made to reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic growth in Cambodia,” she said.
Ministry secretary of state Hean Vanhorn said on May 10 that the project demonstrated the positive results of the US government’s contributions to Cambodia’s economic growth.
“The results of the Harvest II project are in line with the Agricultural Sector Development Strategic Plan 2019-2023 and the Agricultural Sub-Sector Development Strategic Plan 2030,” he said.
Vanhorn said the success of the Harvest II project was a clear demonstration that the government and its development partner’s encouragement of cooperation between public-private partnerships, agricultural communities and NGOs was an effective policy that would continue to promote and push the growth of Cambodia’s horticultural value chain with the expectation of a remarkable increase in acceleration for the development of the sector.
He said the ministry would continue to strive in a spirit of unity with all stakeholders to overcome all challenges to the development of Cambodia’s agricultural sector until all of it was on par with the country’s horticulture and vegetable crops, which have become highly productive and efficient.
USAID said that in order to push the growth of the horticultural sector in Cambodia and seize the available opportunities, the Harvest II project worked with buyers, producers and other market players to enhance the quality of produce, increase capacity and add to the value chain.
Through the Harvest II project, USAID said it continues to support the vegetable, fruit and cashew sectors by promoting and strengthening sustainable economic opportunities in an environmentally friendly market system.
The Harvest II project uses a buyer-based approach and develops a marketing system that focuses on buyers of horticultural products as a starting point and works with farmers, companies and other partners to facilitate and strengthen partnerships between buyers and suppliers, working with other market players to identify problems and find systematic solutions in the horticulture sector.
Harvest II had three main objectives: First, to increase market access by working with private sector service providers to increase financial and business capacity, promote the use of information technology and marketing and strengthen supply chains and expand opportunities by obtaining financing for business partners in the project.
Second, the project sought to enhance market relationships by working with buyers and producers to build trust and build mutually beneficial business partnerships.
And third, it aimed to improve governance and business facilitation by working in partnership with the government, private sector and civil society to strengthen opportunities for support and dialogue between the public and private sectors in order to help the government address stakeholders’ marketplace barriers in order to boost the horticultural sector.