USAID and IFAD sign Agreement to Support Cambodian Agricultural Development

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in late January, that solidifies two agencies’ partnership and commitment to support of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Agricultural Strategic Development Plan, said a press release of the U.S. Embassy issued on Thursday.

The agreement will oversee the development and enactment of policies with the Royal Government of Cambodia to improve Cambodia’s agricultural sector as a critical part of the country’s economic growth, it added.

It will also help businesses – from the farmer to the trader to the local store owner – work better together so that Cambodia’s agricultural products can compete in the local market and earn the greatest price, said the press release.

According to the same source, USAID (through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future programme) and IFAD (a specialised agency of the United Nations) will also share expertise and lessons learned among the wide variety of people and organisations working in agriculture. Finally, the agreement will help to enhance the skills of extension professionals – those who help farmers increase their yields by improving their methods – meet the demands of Cambodia’s increasingly competitive agricultural system.

“A vibrant and growing agricultural sector is critical to Cambodia’s future growth,” noted USAID Cambodia Mission Director Ms. Polly Dunford. “By working more closely together, we hope that USAID and IFAD can help Cambodia’s farmers contribute more effectively to the national economy while helping their families and communities.”

Through the Feed the Future programme, USAID plans to invest approximately US$40 million to support Cambodia’s agricultural sector development over the next five years. IFAD provides both grants and loans to support the royal government’s agricultural development plan totaling US$118 million dollars over five years.

“For over two decades, we have been helping rural Cambodians rise out of poverty by increasing opportunities to improve their livelihoods,” added Mr. Benoit Thierry, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Asia and the Pacific Division.

“Coordinating our support with other development partners like USAID will translate into more effective investments and important gains for Cambodia’s agriculture and we are calling for more agencies to join this effort,” he underlined.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press