In Cambodia, rice is the staple food and its price shoots up regularly during the lean periods (period in between two harvests). Cambodian farmers usually harvest rice only once a year against three or four times for neighboring countries such as Thailand or Vietnam. For the poorest, even producing a cycle of rice a year has become difficult because during the lean season, they must work as workforce outside their village to earn money to feed their families at the very time when they should be on their land for rice transplant.
To address this issue and improve the income of rice producers, AVSF and its local partners have started a project to support the commercialization and exportation of Cambodian rice at national and international level.
In order to do so, the project focuses on 4 main aspects.
1) Contribute to the organization of the sector at national level :
The Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) was created regrouping the existing organizations of the rice sector. Its role is to unify and gather as many professions as possible in one place of dialogue. The project also helps building capacities of Federations of Farmer Organizations and consolidate their advocacy role to represent smallholder farmers interests.
2) Establish quality standards or labels at international level :
To consolidate Cambodian rice added value and contribute to its promotion, the project focuses on targeting export market countries, encourages the development of a collective brand for Cambodian Jasmine Rice and develops the organic certification which generates a significant income increase for producers.
3) Promote the involvement of Farmer Organizations :
The 'Paddy Selling Group' model was put in place within Farmer Organizations : the idea is to gather farmers to sell batches of paddy together so that the quantity and quality is enough to interest rice millers and exporters. The project also works with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries on the development of policies, regulations and guidelines to encourage contract farming agreements between rice millers or exporters and Farmer Organizations.
4) Upgrade the Rural Development Bank :
The project contributed to reforming the Rural Development Bank in order to develop its capacities to answer the financial requirements of millers and farmers (help Farmer Organizations access credit).
This project is supporte by AFD.