Validation Workshop on Draft Report – Understanding the Progress and Challenges of Implementing Agriculture Sector Development Plan (ASDP) 2019-2023 Implementation

The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) organized a Validation Workshop on Draft Report – Understanding the Progress and Challenges of Implementing Agriculture Sector Development Plan (ASDP) 2019-2023 Implementation which was held on 19th February 2021 at Hotel Cambodiana, Phnom Penh. This workshop was funded by Diakonia, HEKS/EPER, and Oxfam under Women Economic Empowerment in Agriculture (WEEA) project. There were51 participants (15 women) who are presentative for the Provincial Department of Agriculture Forestry and fisheries (PDAFF) and Department of Women’s Affairs of Kampot, Kratie, Pursat, and Kampong Thom, NGOs, and development partners attended the workshop. The purpose of this workshop aims to share the results of the study report to understand the progress and obstacles in the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Agricultural Development 2019-2023 and review the final draft report and gather comments to include in this report.

In the welcome remark by Dr. Tek Vannara – Executive Director of The NGO Forum on Cambodia said that the workshop today will present and discuss the results on the progress and additional action plan to assure the completion of the ASDP 2019-2023. If we look at the Nation Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), it is also time for the mid-term evaluation of the NSDP, led by the Council of Development for Cambodia (CDC). The CDC and Ministry of Planning will hire a consultant for the evaluation, together with inter-ministerial committee for further facilitation and coordination. The report today is assessed by the independent consultant and from this report we are able to plan more activities to achieve the strategic goals in 2023. From today we can plan to achieve the goals together in fulfilling the gaps and in 2023 we will review it again to see how far we complete and what remains. The reflection on what has progressed based on the plan is important and true/constructive feedback is even essential prior to plan and program implementation. The results from our forum on Land, Natural Resource Management, and Farmer Forum have informed us the critical challenges in agricultural sector. We believe that we have done better and will be even better in the future. Our farmers have lived and experienced in their agricultural practices and therefore skills and expertise are embedded and need to be enhanced. We need to only aid more enabling environment to support our farmers. Agriculture is leading sector in our economy. We need your inputs and feedback for the report and plan to help us practice the work to achieve the strategic plan in 2023.

Opening remark by Mr. Sok Khim of Oxfam in Cambodia. We will hear the result of the assessment of the agricultural plan since 2019. It has been 2 years to make some progresses of the strategic plan. What we have archived and progressed, what are the corrected actions for the next 3 years in order to ensure that our implementation of the plan is successful and complete all the indicators and in contributing to our NSDP. Oxfam has supported the rehabilitation of small-scale agriculture – i.e. irrigation canals with local Department of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry. What we can do to support our farmers when they are in need together with the donors? When there is a pest outbreak, farmers seek support. Can PDAFF immediately support them in addressing the issues efficiently? Another challenge is answering a question of what we can do to reduce their agriculture cost of the small farmers? If there is high price of inputs, then farmers are difficult to complete with the imported products. This is a critical question. If costs can be reduced, then farmers manage to compete with other non-Cambodian products.

Key findings – focused on program (i) increase productivity, diversification and agri-business and program (ii) promote animal production and health:

  • The program 1 of ASDP 2019-2023 was completely achieved in 2019 (99.59% achievement) except the exported agriculture products in the first semester of 2020 as the country produced up to 29.8 million tons of different agriculture products compared to the planned 29.93 million tons and during the first semester of 2020, 24 million tons of different agriculture products or equal to 76% were produced compared to the planned target of 31.48 million tons were achieved.
  • During this one year and half, the country can reach 239 thousand tons which is 1 thousand tons less than the target. The percentage of commercial farming was also reached to 37.6% more than planned 23% in 2019, therefore, the achievement was 14.6% over the planned while the commercial farming in 2020 reached to 35% compared to the planned target of 25%, therefore, the achievement was 10% more than the planned. However, there was a constraint in term of reducing the communicable disease of which in both 2019 and 2020, there still be 1% to 2% below the planned target.
  • The process of ASDP 2019-2023 development was fully and meaningfully consulted with different stakeholders and especially the national level. However, rural farmers and stakeholder at the sub-national level was not very well engaged in its development process. During 18-month implementation of ASDP 2019-2023, there have been positive and negative aspects which are accelerated and prevented the achievement of the plan.

Recommendations – According to the assessment’s findings, following recommendations were suggested:

  • Host the ASDP 2019-2023 and JMIs 2019-2023 dissemination at the sub-national level to be able relevant agriculture actors/stakeholders
  • To establish sub-national coordination and reporting platform
  • MAFF to share widely the progress report of the implementation of PASDP/ASDP/JMIs to stakeholders at the sub-national level
  • Speed up the innovative research and development on new seed varieties
  • Reactive the contract farming and improve the recording system for processed agriculture products
  • Intensify the resource mobilization for supporting to ASDP 2019-2023 implementation
  • Take consideration on the modernization of the agriculture extension and facilitate access to input supplies at affordable costs for small-scale farmers.

During the discussion session, participants also provided additional inputs including key challenges and solutions through their practical experiences and lesson learnt to promote sustainable agriculture in Cambodia. All comments / feedback will be incorporated into the final report.

Closing Remark by Ms. Ros Chhorvivorn – Management Member of NDF-C. Many thanks for the participation of all participants from local and international NGOs, Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Department of Women’s Affairs from Kampong Thom, Kratie, Kampot and Pursat provinces for contributing your inputs and comments into the drafted assessment report. Today our discussions have resulted in many inputs from all participants as expected. We collect all of your inputs, feedback and suggestions to improve the report. Also, many thanks for the consultant for such a great work to map out the ASDP progress and our work direction toward achieving the planned ASDP. We will share our revised report to all relevant departments for further comments in the later time to further enhance the quality of the report.