The National Institute of Statistics (NIS) has shared the results of the Cambodia Agricultural Survey 2021 Report (CAS 2021). Conducted under the auspices of the “50x2030 Initiative”, the survey aimed to strengthen national statistical capacity and establish an efficient and durable national agricultural data collection system. 

The Ministry of Planning’s NIS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, organised a workshop to disseminate the results, according to a December 24 joint press release.

The December 20 workshop was held with technical support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The release explained that CAS 2021 collected information on crop cultivation, livestock and poultry raising, aquaculture and capture fishing, as well as the impacts of external shocks on agriculture, labour, the economy and more. 

It added that the survey methodology involved the selection of a representative sample of Enumeration Areas (EA) throughout Cambodia. The samples were taken from the 2019 General Population Census Sampling Frame, which encompassed around 14,500 villages and 38 000 EAs. Data collection was conducted during November and December 2021.

“The CAS 2021 estimated a total of 2,277,000 household agricultural holdings in Cambodia, or approximately 57 per cent of all households in the country (3,553,021 households as per the General Population Census of Cambodia 2019). 

“Crop activity was reported on 93 per cent of all household agricultural holdings in Cambodia, while 83 per cent reported raising livestock, poultry, or insects. An estimated 21 per cent were involved in capture fishing activity and 4 per cent in aquaculture,” the release said.

The survey assessed that around one-quarter – or 27 per cent – of Cambodian agricultural households reported that their agricultural income contributed less to their total household income than during the previous year. The households were also asked to estimate the share of their total household income that was accounted for by their agricultural income.

An estimated 35 per cent of households reported that about half of their total household income was accounted for by agricultural income, while 18 per cent reported that most or almost all of their total household income was accounted for by it. Just four per cent reported that all of their total household income was accounted for by agricultural income.

As for challenges in the sector, the CAS 2021 revealed that thirty-five percent of agricultural household holdings experienced disruptions from various events, with drought affecting 244,000 holdings, floods impacting 206,000, and Covid-19 issues directly affecting 131,000 holdings. 

“As technological progress accelerates, our reliance on robust agricultural data grows,” said Rebekah Bell, FAO representative in Cambodia, in the release.

“It’s this symbiotic relationship that allows us to adapt, innovate, and steer Cambodia’s agricultural sector toward a sustainable and prosperous future,” she added.

Nor Vanndy, NIS representative declared the collaboration between the institute and its development partners through the 50x2030 initiative as “a shining example of teamwork that has brought significant improvements to our institute”. 

“Through this project, we have seen better quality in our fieldwork and increased skills in data analysis. These steps forward are crucial as they directly strengthen our ministry’s ability to make well-informed decisions and develop policies based on reliable data,” he said.

The release explained that as the CAS evolves, the potential applications of the data will broaden and may be integrated with other research efforts, such as the Cambodian Agriculture Census 2023.

Mak Mony, director of the agriculture ministry’s Department of Planning and Statistics, appreciated the synergy between the diverse datasets, emphasising their role in strengthening planning and policymaking at both the national and sub-national levels. 

He said the ministry is focused on promoting this sector through several strategies, many of them based on data sources collected in the face of the evolution of global challenges such as climate change and market changes.

“Every piece of information pushes us closer to a resilient and thriving agricultural future for Cambodia,” he added.

The 50x2030 Initiative aims to fill the agricultural data gap in 50 low and lower-middle income countries by the year 2030, and to inform their agriculture-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Cambodia was the first country to join the initiative in Asia. One of the cornerstones of the 50x2030 initiative is to provide data free of charge so that research institutions, policy makers and development partners have access to up-to-date and high-quality data, allowing them to make accurate and informed decisions.