Phnom Penh, October 20, 2015: The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF), conducted a half-day launching workshop on “Reflection on the strategies to support small landholders: Through the review of National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP 2014-2018), Key informant interview and case study”, which was held at Tonle Bassac II Restaurant. Forty-six participants (17 females) from local and international NGOs, American Embassy, youths, and relevant development partners participated in this workshop.
The main objectives of this launching workshop were to disseminated the results of the report to relevant CSOs/NGOs, government/ministries and other relevant development stakeholders. This workshop also created an opening space for the depth discussion amongst all representatives from different organizations in agriculture sectors. More especially, it aimed to draw the government’s attention to address the issues of small landholders in Cambodia.
In his opening remarked, Dr. Tek Vannara said, “Cambodia had a strong agricultural sector that met the highest standards of ASEAN, but it would face a challenge when the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) comes into effect at the end of the year. The AEC will reduce trade barriers and free up the flow of goods as it seeks to establish a common market among its 10 members.” He has been addressed that the dropping of barriers to the free flow of labor would only further encourage small landholders to move to the cities or move abroad for work. He added, “If they fail, Cambodia fails too”.
The result of the finding was presented by Mr. Suon Seng, Executive Director of Centre for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture and Livelihood Systems (CENTDOR).
Additionally, there were several way forwards that provided by the research recommendation and from all participants proposed to the government such as the government should speed up the establishment of the legal framework and technical services for the setting up of agriculture cooperatives, counting of training/learning materials (Implementation and management of agriculture cooperative manual and Training of Trainer manual), and the important roles of small farmers in the NSDP should be highlighted. Moreover, the Government should make funds available to support agriculture cooperatives or federations of cooperatives. The funds should also be accessible by ACs so that they are able to strengthen and expand their business operations.
The NGOs and NGOF should organize, without delay, public events to circulate these research findings to the important stakeholders. The Filière approach should be adopted to link farmers to markets. However, support to farmers should target production for home consumption, before gradually linking them to local, urban and export markets. At the same time, NGOs should document and disseminate good agriculture practices as wide as possible to other farmers and to other provinces.
“Farmers should organize themselves as a group or AC, to produce different commodities for markets. However, farmers first need to fulfill household needs, then supply to local markets. They also need to learn about market requirements related to the specifications of the produce. In order to access external funds, agriculture cooperatives need to learn financial management, and prepare standard business strategic and operational plans. Furthermore, the achievement of ACs at the ground level is an asset. Communication and leadership are also very important for ACs,” said Kim Nay, Development Issue Programme Manager of NGOF.
Besides, the suggestion from all participants to the government is strongly to encourage the government continue their good work and filling/considering the gaps in the policy from the research found and in order to help small landholder in Cambodia.
To get full report of POLICY BRIEF Strategy to Support Small Landholder Farmers, please visit:
1. In Khmer: http://bit.ly/1Od6TX5
2. In English: http://bit.ly/1kBF8Oq