FAO in Cambodia

FAO Success Stories in Cambodia

In northern Cambodia, a reforestation project has given a lifeline to the environment and community

Mr Pov Poeu and Mrs Cheut Lin, and their two children aged 15 and 3 are among 27 percent of poor households of Betkar village, Svay Leu commune, Svay Leu district, a rural community located around 50 km from Siem Reap Province to the north. The villagers’ main source of livelihoods is subsistence rice farming on the flat land and cash crops like cashew nut and cassava. Some very poor dwellers live on non-timber forest products such as wild vegetables.

By 7 a.m. in the morning, lunch boxes, water, axe or hooked knifes, which will be useful for a day in the forest, are ready. Ms Lay Koeuk and her husband begin to herd their 20 cattle, walking toward a nearby forest. Carrying a bag of food on the shoulder, the couple walks about four kilometers to reach a forest and then up to an area where soft and green grass is available for their cattle. After that, they continue into the forest for about six or seven kilometers in search for forest resources, which they can sell. The income is then used to buy fish, meat, and others basic necessities to support their livelihood. Around 7 p.m. she finishes preparing dinner for her family of three. This is how Ms Lay Koeuk, 40, describes a day in her life, after rice cultivation -one of her main tasks of the year- is over.

Hidden behind hills of red soil Ta Veaeng Leu commune, Ratanakiri (Cambodia) a small community consisting of 126 families of the Brao ethnic minority is struggling to adapt to the increasing pressures of climate change and deforestation. In response, the LNP through a bottom-up approach has identified cultural and eco-system sensitive sustainable approaches to support the community to adapt to climate change and increase its productivity, while integrating traditional food security providing strategies.

Until recently, Popok commune has been largely covered in endemic evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, rich in wildlife, fish and aquatic plants and valuable forest and non-forest products. Yet, human development activities and economic land concessions established over the last two decades has over exploited natural resources leading to unsustainable land use and disruptions to fragile ecosystems.

Nearly all villagers in Kulean Cheung Commune rely on rice farming for food and income, and Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) collection in forest areas. They grow rain-fed rice, so there is only one harvest every year. If climate variability affects precipitation patterns, rice production and food security are at risk.

Key Facts

Lvea Krang, a rural commune in Siem Reap province, was selected to be a learning site of the GEF funded “Life and Nature” project (LNP). The project aims to improve adaptive capacity of rural communities to impacts of climate change and strengthen ecosystem services to support agriculture and to attain food security. 

Chan Thel, his wife and six children live in Anlong Kranh Village, an extremely remote area of Kampong Thom province, Cambodia. Without major industry nearby employment opportunities are limited, leaving villagers solely dependent on their smallholder farming outputs and forest products.

Women discussing rebuilding of their Live Bird Market (LBM) and legal framework for LBM operation

Since 2004, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks have been widely reported in Cambodia. Takeo Live Bird Market (LBM) is one of the largest of its kind in the country, connecting the poultry value chain countrywide. To combat the transboundary animal disease (TAD) threat in the region, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) collaborate to upgrade the biosecurity and biosafety of the Takeo LBM and its poultry value chain under the project “Evidence Based Risk Management Along the Livestock Production and Market Chain”. This project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development and the Australian Government.

(22.05.2018) Prey Veng, Cambodia, 24 January 2018 – Adopting traditional practices, a married man with two children, Lim Bona, 34, has become a farmer, using skills taught to him by his parents.

Settling down in Prey Veng’s Ba Phnom District, Kleang village, Buna and his family used to depend on food and income from the rice they harvested once a year over the rainy season. Standing at the intersection of two major rivers, the Mekong and Tonle Bassac, enables two harvests each year for a large part of Prey Veng Province. Despite the conditions favorable for more productive agriculture, the lack of capital prevented Buna from developing his business.

Ouk Nha Em village, Chey Kampork commune, Prah Sdach district, Prey Veng province. “We request the members of our IPM Farmers’ Club not only to save money but to also save cow dung for compost. The local government must take action and issue sanctions to prevent those collecting cow dung and selling them for their own benefit. We need to act as a community.” Mrs. Chorn Nhor was referring to the tons and tons of cow dung being exported daily to Vietnam through the Prey Veng-Tay Ninh border. She was voicing out the thinking of other members of her IPM Farmers’ Club. Their own agricultural production could benefit from the incorporation of cow dung to improve soil structure and nutrient content. Her awareness about soil health and how this results in better and more sustainable yields resulted from learning in the Farmer Field School (FFS).

Kampong Cham province, Cambodia – “I never dreamed that I would become an officer of a Cooperative or that I would produce chili for export”, says Mrs. Kheang Sipho. “My parents were farmers and knew how hard it was to be a farmer. When I was small, they encouraged me to study hard so that I could become a professional, a government officer. But history changed all that. After the Pol Pot regime, we were very poor and I could not go to school.”  But with a diploma from a Farmer Field School, Mrs. Sipho was every inch a professional as she took out the accounting books she maintains as the Treasurer of the Kampong Cham Organic Farming Cooperative (KCHOFC).

(17.04.2015) Cambodia – In the fight against rural poverty, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) continue to strengthen their partnership to improve agriculture and rural communities through the Project for Agriculture Development and Economic Empowerment (PADEE), funded through the FAO Unilateral Trust Fund mechanism. PADEE aims to improve agricultural productivity and diversify rural incomes by providing the rural poor access to financial services, technologies and markets in 984 villages in Cambodia’s five lowland Mekong provinces. Poor households are often neglected by microfinance initiatives owing to their illiteracy and generally poor education, lack of financial skills and a lack of collateral.

(25.07.2014) Koh Kong - Braving a punishing sun, mushy ground and grimy labor, 22 Cambodian government officials participated in week-long vital work, which will culminate in the first significant assessment of the country’s forests since 1962. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) will use the inventory to obtain an accurate and reliable snapshot of its forests, its health, size, the species it contains, and the carbon content.

(24.03.2014) Svay Chrum District— In the blazing sun in rural Cambodia a group of women farmers argue about who among them has the greenest thumb. She might not claim the title but standing in the middle of her neighbour’s backyard garden, Ly Sokvanna, is proud of what she sees in front of her. What began with an initial compost pit is now a colourful garden with seasonal vegetables, blooming flowers, and roaming chickens. As one of the few educated farmers in the district, Ly Sokvanna, 53, a mother of seven, was included in the first group of farmers to become qualified facilitators to train 30 other farmers using the farmer field schools approach that was being implemented by FAO through the Joint Programme for Children, Food Security and Nutrition.

(16.01.2013) Mr. Em Phea, Chief of Division Fisheries Administration Cantonment of Cambodia’s Kompong Som province has been working for the Fisheries Administration (FiA) for more than 20 years and as a key figure in the Kompong Som FiA has worked closely with RFLP. He was trained by RFLP in marine survey techniques from May to December 2011 and also participated in a ten-day aquaculture good practice training course in October 2011. In addition, Mr. Em has been involved in the monthly and bi-monthly meetings between the FiA and Community Fisheries supported by RFLP as part of the co-management process.

(03.2013) Illegal fishing is common along Cambodia’s coast. It offers big profits for some and a means of survival for others while posing a challenge for the fisheries administration, community fisheries and local authorities alike. Amongst those who fished using illegal gear and methods such as motorized trawling, flying nets and undersized mesh nets was Thieng Sao. A resident of Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nup district, his main means of survival for over a decade was illegal fishing along the southern coast of Preah Sihanouk and Kampot provinces.