FAO in Cambodia

Cambodia at a glance

Cambodia is a least-developed country on its way to becoming a middle income economy. While the garment industry, construction and tourism are the engines of the economic growth, the agricultural sector accounts for about 35 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs a majority of the population. Agriculture is therefore central to poverty reduction and hunger eradication in Cambodia.

Cambodia is blessed with an abundance of natural resources including land and water, favourable climatic conditions and geographic position, which represent potential comparative advantages for increased agricultural production and livelihood improvements.

Crop production contributes about 54 percent of the sector GDP, with fisheries accounting for 25 percent, livestock for 15 percent and forestry and logging for about 6 percent. Although only 8 percent of rice production is irrigated, production has increased steadily and made Cambodia not only self-sufficient in rice, but also an important exporter.

Other important food crops include corn, soybean, mung bean, cassava and fruits such as mango, pineapple, jackfruit, durian, rambutan and banana. Cash crops have also seen a significant expansion in particular sugarcane, and rubber and palm oil.

Fish is the main source of protein in people’s diets and marine fisheries and fresh water fishing in lakes and waterways, in particular the Tonle Sap and the Mekong, contribute substantially to incomes, jobs and food security. The livestock sector is underdeveloped with small animals such as pigs, ducks and chickens raised mainly for household consumption.

However, several challenges need to be addressed for the productivity in the agricultural sector to improve and for the sector to live up to its full potential as a contributor to equitable economic growth and poverty reduction. These include:

• Low level of technology

• Poor farming skills

• Insufficient use of modern seed varieties and fertilizer

• Poor soil management

• Lack of or limited infrastructure, in particular irrigation

• Weak commercialization networks

• Limited access to extension services and rural credit

• Inadequate post-harvest process management

• Unsustainable management of natural resources

• Vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters

• Poor social conditions linked to nutrition, health, safe drinking water and sanitation in rural areas

• High levels of illiteracy

FAO is supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia to address these challenges with the aim of ending hunger and improving food security and nutrition in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner.