Asian Development Bank approves additional funds to supports disaster-resilient agriculture in Cambodia

Asian Development Bank headquartersAsian Development Bank headquarters. (Image source: Eugene Alvin Villar/Commons)The Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Board of Directors has approved US$50mn 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 disaster

Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development Project was originally approved in December 2009 with a total amount of US$51.15mn. 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 per cent of rural households and has contributed to recent poverty reduction efforts. Cambodia's poverty rate declined to below 14 per cent in 2014 from 53 per cent 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 co-financed with a US$10mn concessional loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and government support equivalent to US$6mn.

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