The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the French Development Agency (AFD) and GRET Cambodia, aiming to strengthen its capacity and expand the potential of the social protection system towards sustainable growth that will also benefit agricultural workers.

NSSF deputy director-general Heng Sophannarith said the MoU will serve as a bridge for the NSSF to expand its capacity so it can cover the agricultural sector. The industry is susceptible to climate change, so income stability is crucial.

“All of the parties involved are committed to achieving our common goals. The MoU will allow us to share knowledge, exchange experience and provide mutual cooperation. This will allow us to expand the scope of the social security system,” he said at the signing ceremony held in Phnom Penh on February 21.

According to Sophannarith, the NSSF and GRET are currently implementing the “Social Protection: Innovations for Informal Sector (SPIN Project)”. The project was launched in 2018, with financial support from the AFD and the Weave Our Future Foundation.

“The SPIN Project for the informal economy will contribute to expanding the scope of coverage of the social security fund to two target groups: members of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association [IDEA] and members of the Association of Domestic Workers [ADW] in Phnom Penh,” he said.

“The aim of the cooperation is to identify practical options for sustainable social insurance coverage for the target population,” said AFD chief executive officer Remy Rioux.

GRET said the signing of the MoU is in line with the organisation’s commitment to serving and accommodating vulnerable populations.

”In the new project, funded by AFD, [we] will work with the NSSF to explore the possibility of expanding social security to agricultural workers in Cambodia, as they are at risk from climate change,” said a GRET press release.

According to GRET, 70 per cent of Cambodia’s population does not have access to social security funds. Agricultural workers are among the most vulnerable to climate change issues related to health, food and nutrition, as well as income.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with the AFD and NSSF to serve the Cambodian people, especially in the context of climate change,” it added.