CSOs working group on Agriculture and water of the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) organize the National Farmer Forum in order to discuss on progress, challenge, and ways forward. The present meeting of this year is the 11th National Farmer Forum (NFF). The eleventh NFF was held on 01 November 2022 in Tonle Bassac II Restaurant, Phnom Penh and proceeded as shown on the Agenda.There were 176 (62 females) participants from 16 provinces and towns attended the NFF. Three objectives of the NFF are:
1. Review and reflect progress made in accordance to the suggestions and recommendations raised during the 10th NFF;
2. Promote responsible Agro-business to support woman economy and Climate Change Resilience in Cambodia.
3. Provide opportunity for relevant stakeholders to discuss, set priority target goals, and work together for partnering efforts to assist smallholder farmers in Climate Change Adaptation for overcoming their current facing agricultural challenges.
The proposed agenda, which is very tight, was successfully proceeded with the chairpersons including:
• Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO Forum
• Mrs. Phean Sophorn, Director of Oxfam Cambodia
• Dr. Nhem Saret, Director of HEIFER International in Cambodia
• Mrs. Yan Srey Yat, Representative of the Outstanding Women
The key points of suggestions and recommendations from the 11th NFF are:
1. In order to continue supports to small and medium farmers and agriculture communities, MAFF should continue to allocate financial package to provincial department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (PDAFF).
2. Promote qualified and competitive value investment in domestic fertilizer, pesticide, agriculture tools.
3. Repair and rehabilitate irrigation and watering systems, and establish large reservoirs for agriculture and household uses year round.
4. Banks and microfinances should continue to charge as low as acceptable interest rate for loans that will be used for agriculture development, as well as administratively facilitate, easy procedure, and less or no deposit. The banks should, also, provide agriculture consultation experts to advise risk mitigations. At the same values, the banks should provide variety of payback options and lift the debt whenever facing with Mother Nature disasters.
5. Ministries should promote and strengthen Contract Farming wider and issue certificate of supporting farmer products in order to help selling to requiring companies. At the same time, relevant partner agencies should effectively strengthen agriculture mechanism of Contract Farming between the farmers and the rice investment companies.
6. Continue to improve and build rural CC adaptive road infrastructure in order to help farmers connected to markets and reduce cost of agriculture transportation.
7. Both, farmer and private companies should be honest to Contract Farming implementation.
8. Individual farmers should together be grouped as agriculture communities, self-strengthening, and improve implementation of activity, good governance in order to sustain agriculture communities, especially during post NGO support time.
9. Communities should be grouped as networks in order to create agricultural product markets.
10. Hold policy forum that provide opportunities to farmers to meet and discuss with relevant agencies for sharing information, challenges, and workable resolutions.
11. Support woman economic empowerment in rice chains of custody, especially in the project implementations.
12. Support trainings on new and emerging technology, how to select CC adaptive agriculture, and provide capital to small agriculture.
13. Should use renewable energy in production chains in order to reduce investment capital for agriculture productions.
The NFF was closed by His Excellency Sarn Sarana Third Committee of the National Assembly, responsible for Assembly Representative for Tbaung Khmum province.
Having paid respects to the chairmen, ladies and gentlemen, and the participants, His Excellency Sarana noted to the workshop key important points as following.
I am honored to participate the closing sessions today on the subject of “the 11th National Farmer Forum: Working in Partnerships to enhance an adaptation capacity to Climate Change of smallholder farmers to respond to agricultural market demands”, which organized by NGOF and its partners, he said. He highly evaluated all the representatives of the ministries and the participants from the 16 provinces and cities to actively participate in this workshop.
With the summary report just delivered before His Excellency’s time of Closing Remarks, he concluded that much more progresses and improvement made since the 10th National Farmer Forum. He notified that improvements were highly responsible on agriculture and gender mainstreaming in the agribusiness to cope with the Climate Change (CC). The summary also stated that some more suggestions and recommendations raised from the workshop day of the 11th National Farmer Forum, he claimed.
He believed that the recommendations are aligned with the Royal Government of Cambodia mandates and together to improve coordination in agribusiness development. His Excellency further noted that the natural disasters have been increasingly happened that cause negative impacts on agriculture products, loss of money, and livelihoods of farmers. So, on his behalf, he supported the recommendations of the workshop day, and together to get these recommendations solved, he announced. He believed that all partners should work together on knowledge on CC, support agriculture technics to increase products, support framework and regulations that support competitive agribusiness.
His Excellency stated that information and inputs from the workshop will contribute to the Royal Government of Cambodia policies and improvement of the impractical policies. He thanked the NGOF and the workshop organizing partners, and farmers for active participation and discussions in the context of CC in agribusiness. In the end, on his behalf, he acknowledged, once again, for the hard works of the participants in the 11th National Farmer Forum; and wished all the participants with the four Buddhism Wishes and declared the event closed.