Although Cambodia has made strides in economic growth, poverty remains widespread, particularly in rural areas where the majority of the country’s 14 million people reside. Most rely on agriculture for their food and income, but the lack of quality inputs, drought, flooding and animal disease hinder productivity. FAO is working to strengthen the country’s ability to prevent and control infectious animal disease and help small-scale producers boost their productivity, profitability and resilience to shocks.
Controlling animal disease
An outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) not only has potentially devastating consequences for Cambodia’s backyard and commercial poultry farmers but poses serious public health risks. The country has had numerous outbreaks over the last decade, which continue to this day. The widespread use of open-range poultry production, insufficient border controls and weak reporting mechanisms challenge HPAI prevention and control.
FAO is supporting efforts to minimize the levels of HPAI infection in Cambodia. It is strengthening veterinary services at all levels to prevent, detect and respond to HPAI and other animal diseases. It is providing training in emergency vaccination, reviewing hygiene and husbandry practices that pose risks for the transmission of infection and strengthening animal health information, education and communication programmes.
Increasing productivity and resilience
Intensifying and diversifying smallholder food production in Cambodia can help rural communities build their resilience to flooding and drought. FAO is working to improve farmers’ access to quality seeds and other inputs and to modern technologies and practices. It is assisting farmers to grow other crops in addition to rice, such as vegetables and fruit, engage in livestock rearing or fisheries and diversify into non-food agricultural production such as silk. Doing so will help ensure a better supply of fresh, nutrient-rich foods for farming families – the country struggles with high maternal and child under-nutrition rates – and more income opportunities.
Making farming more profitable
FAO is also working to make farming more profitable for smallholder farmers by improving their access to credit – a constraint for many – as well as opportunities to market their produce. It is strengthening community-based organizations engaged in agricultural production, processing and marketing, and linking farmers up with them and with agri-businesses. It is also working to bolster existing input supply chains and marketing channels.