Cambodia, China and UNDP launch joint cassava project
Phnom Penh – A trilateral agriculture project worth US$400,000 provided by China has been unveiled to assist Cambodia in boosting its cassava production for export.
Senior officials from Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and UNDP in Cambodia signed an agreement at a launching ceremony on Tuesday, 21 May, formally kick-starting implementation of the China-Cambodia-UNDP Trilateral Cooperation Cassava Project – Phase II.
In her speech at the ceremony on Tuesday, Ms. Luv Zhouxiang, of Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, said the project would “help move Cambodian producers, processors and exporters of cassava up the value chain.”
She was joined by H.E. Teng Lao, Secretary of State of Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director in Cambodia.
Ms. Yamazaki said the project will contribute to diversification of export base to lessen Cambodia’s vulnerability to external economic shocks in the future.
“One key anticipated impact of the [project] is to promote job creation and poverty reduction, as the sector is labour-intensive and recruits from a broad segments of the population, including those in some of the poorest regions of the country,” Ms. Yamazaki said.
But she also noted that even though cassava has become the second largest agricultural crop in terms of income, employment, hectares cultivated, and exports, “there is very little technical assistance support provided to the sector.”
Cassava growers face a range of difficulties, including lack of high-yielding varieties, cultivation techniques, extension services, access to markets and capacity to improve production and quality standard for export. China is a major market for export of cassava crop from Cambodia.
The first phase of the project – which is part of a South-South Cooperation framework – began in late 2011 when 30 Cambodian cassava growers were sent to take part in training on cassava cultivation techniques in Hainan, China. The second phase will run through September 2014.
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