Swiss NGO nuts for King­dom’s cashews

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSINESS - Khouth Sophak Chakrya

THE Swiss-backed non-gove r n ment a l o r g a n i s a t i o n , HEKS/EPER, an­nounced the launch of a five-year, $7.8 mil­lion devel­op­ment project for cashew nuts i n Cam­bo­dia, with the goal to im­prove the liveli­hood of ru­ral fam­i­lies.

The project, which will be im­ple­mented bet ween t his year and 2022, was an­nounced in a work­shop yes­ter­day in Phnom Penh and is ex­pected to boost food se­cu­rity, in­come a nd la nd man­age­ment for poor com­mu­ni­ties.

The Asia-Europe chair­man for HEKS/EPER, Marc Zoss, sa id t he pro­jec t w i l l help im­prove the liv­ing stan­dard of the poor who are in­volved in the project.

“We ex pect t h i s pro­jec t [cashew nuts chain and land man­age­ment] to help di­rectly im­prove the liveli­hoods of at least 100,000 ru­ral peo­ple and anot her 250,000 in­di­rect ly,” he said.

Ac­cord i ng to t he HEKS/ EPER, t he pro­jec t w i l l be i mple­mented i n seven ta rgeted prov i nces – P u r sat, Ka mpong Ch h na ng , P re y Veng, Tbong Kh­mum, Kratie, Mon­dulkiri and Stung Treng.

T he proje c t foc u s e s on st reng t hen­ing t he ca­pacit y and tech­niques of cashew nut cul­ti­va­tion and land man­age- ment and im­prov­ing the mar­ket l i nk­age to i ncrease t he in­come and boost the econ­omy in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

HEKS/EPER, es­tab­lished by an NGO, Swiss In­ter­na­tiona l, i n 1946, re­ceives rel ief sup­por t f rom Sw iss Protesta nt Churches.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is cur­rently work ing i n 33 count r ies. Dur­ing its 40 years of op­erat ions i n Ca mbo­dia, it has helped i mprove t he l ivel ihoods of more t han 40,000 poor house­holds through food sup­port.

Min­istr y of Agri­cul­ture sec­re­tar y of state, Hean Van­han, sa id at t he work shop t hat cashew nuts are among the 10 ma­jor strateg ic crops in t he K i ng­dom. “Cu r rent l y, ou r fa r mers a re sh i f t i ng f rom fam­ily-owned busi­nesses to agro-busi­ness,” he said.

Van­han said t hat last year and this year, the cashew cul­ti­va­tion area in 22 prov­inces to­talled 149,660ha, al­most 60 per cent of which is har­vested land wit h a y ield of 116,343 tonnes.

The countr y di­rec­tor for the Swiss Devel­op­ment Agency, Carin Salerno, said the project can only be suc­cessf ull if a ll sta ke­hold­ers were in­volved, es­pe­cially lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties a nd gov er n ment i n s t i t ut ions.

“This project will strengthen knowl­edge about cashew cult i v a t i on t e c h n i que s a nd en­sure mar­ket price sta­bil­ity for the com­mu­nity,” she said, adding that the project would a lso help to pre­vent in­dige­nou s c om mu n it ie s f r om be­comi ng v ict i ms of la nd grabs.

AFP

HEKS/EPER will launch a fiveyear devel­op­ment project for cashew nuts in Cam­bo­dia.

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