Swiss NGO nuts for Kingdom’s cashews
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.
HEKS/EPER will launch a fiveyear development project for cashew nuts in Cambodia.