PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (26 September 2017) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved $50 million in additional financing to help boost agricultural productivity and improve smallholder farmers’ access to markets in 271 communes in Tonle Sap Basin, which is prone to natural calamities.
The Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development Project was originally approved in December 2009 with a total amount of $51.15 million. It has since supported community-driven development in rural roads and other infrastructure and improved agriculture and people’s livelihoods in 196 communes in five provinces, including Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, and Tboung Khmum. The additional support will add a disaster risk management element to the program and help expand it to cover 75 more communes in Kampong Thom and two new provinces, Battambang and Prey Veng.
“The additional financing will help the government further improve agriculture productivity, diversify Tonle Sap Basin’s economy to benefit smallholder farmers, and come up with development initiatives that reflect the needs of local communities,” said ADB Water Resources Specialist Thuy Trang Dang. “Communities with more climate-resilient infrastructure can bounce back more quickly from natural disasters.”
Agriculture is an important sector in the Cambodian economy because it employs about 70% of rural households and has contributed to recent poverty reduction efforts. Cambodia’s poverty rate declined to below 14% in 2014 from 53% in 2004. But growth in the sector has slowed in recent years as agriculture faces challenges such as deteriorating natural resources, low productivity, weak value chains, and high vulnerability to climate change.
The additional financing will support the development of small-scale irrigation systems and the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads, incorporating disaster risk management in their design. It will also help the communities adopt climate-smart agricultural practices, increase farmers’ access to market data, and further develop the value chains of agriculture products.
The project is cofinanced with a $10 million concessional loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and government support equivalent to $6 million.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.