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COVID-19 begins to precise toll on Cambodian farming

Possible water shortages might have an effect on rice manufacturing in Cambodia, including to the issues introduced by COVID-19. Credit: Brad Collis/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (CC BY 2.zero)

While Cambodia has been much less affected by the well being impacts of COVID-19, there are fears that smallholder farms will probably be hit arduous in the course of the moist season that runs from June to September because the fallout from restrictions and lockdown measures takes maintain.

Agriculture is significant for the Cambodian financial system because it employs about three million employees, with the rice sector using a major majority being the nation’s foremost crop and probably the most important export commodity, in line with the World Bank.

Alexandre Huynh, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) consultant in Cambodia, tells SciDev.Net that motion restrictions due to COVID-19 and restricted transportation add to the issues which will have an effect on the manufacturing of crops for each private consumption and on the market. “Agricultural inputs such as seeds, fish fingerlings and breeding chickens are not adequate for the next season.”

Possible water shortages, regardless of the moist season, is one other challenge that farmers might must take care of. “Water scarcity in different areas may compound the difficult situation for rice farmers,” says Rica Joy Flor, innovation techniques scientist on the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Flor, who relies in Phnom Penh, provides that farmers might not have the funds to acquire inputs. “It is predicted that some farmers may not be able to access the credit they need at the start of the wet season,” says Flor. “Many rice farmers depend on credit, especially at the start of the cropping season.”

Huynh says, “Taking microloans as a coping strategy to meet household needs and consumption, especially by the poor, can be foreseen.” She provides that this, nevertheless, could lead on farming households into debt traps.

“There are many households that are just above the poverty line,” Flor says. “What this means is that many of them are in precarious situations, where a shock such as delayed payment, drought-damaged crop, illness in the household or lack of credit would have significant impacts on the households or their farms.”

For its half, the federal government has supplied debt aid or compromise loans with micro-finance establishments as a part of interventions to assist farmers and increase meals manufacturing in response to the COVID-19 scenario, says Srey Vuthy, secretary-general and spokesperson for the agricultural ministry.

As of now, rice farming is working usually, says Vuthy, noting that rice manufacturing in Cambodia has grown from eight.2 million tons in 2010 to 10.eight million tons in 2019.

Cambodia and the IRRI have signed a piece plan to strengthen the rice worth chain and promote the modernisation of the agriculture sector. Though drawn up earlier than the pandemic, the plan has numerous entry factors to consider COVID-19-related issues that “address different constraints as well as broader issues in the rice sector,” says Flor.

Meanwhile, the non-profit Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is collaborating with farmers to take care of manufacturing of high-quality rice that’s produced utilizing ecologically sustainable farming methods and exported to Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US, says Ponhrith Kan, the company’s program improvement and partnership advisor for livelihoods in Cambodia.

VSO can be offering assist by market hyperlinks, agronomic recommendation and farming inputs resembling seeds and fertilizers. Farmers, with the assistance of the group, at the moment are additionally utilizing social media platforms to remain in contact with agricultural consultants and their respective cooperatives.


Popular does not imply influential amongst Cambodian farmers


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COVID-19 begins to precise toll on Cambodian farming (2020, June 23)
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