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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     August 25,  2016  

‘ASEAN City of Culture a great opportunity to promote local products’

BRUNEI’s capital being named as the ASEAN City of Culture 2016-2017 will be a good platform to support and promote local Up to $85M earmarked to develop agriculture sectors

Representatives of Cambodia’s rice sector and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) met yesterday with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to discuss the implementation of a five-year program to promote the Kingdom’s agricultural products.

The Accelerating Inclusive Markets for Smallholders (AIMS) initiative will allocate $85 million toward the development of 10 different sectors of the country’s agriculture industry, according to Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).

“The project will focus on promoting farming products first in local and then in international markets,” he said. “The budget will be used to improve Cambodia’s agricultural productivity as well as to provide the technical skills, production capacity, packaging facilities and the capital to bring these products to market.”

Starting next year and running until 2022, the AIMS project will support producers of meat, vegetable, fruits and rice products. IFAD has pledged to contribute $45 million to the project, while the MEF will provide $8 million. The remaining funds will be obtained through private sector investments, Lak explained.

“If the plan progresses well, we hope that it will help a lot of farmers and promote greater economic growth,” he said, adding that the project’s details would be finalised on September 8.

Cambodia’s agricultural sector already benefits from significant amounts of aid through IFAD programs. The NGO’s initiatives have a combined budget of $100 million.

Yang Phirom, business adviser for the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) and chief executive of Cambodia Farm Enterprise (COFE), welcomed news of the AIMS project, but warned that IFAD needs to work with the appropriate institutions to maximise its success.

“This is a really good project for developing the agricultural sector, but we need to make sure that those involved work with the organisations that have a good understanding of the market issues and the challenges facing farmers,” he said.

“The government should also guarantee retail prices for farmers otherwise they will give up their jobs in the farming industry.”--The Phnom Penh Post

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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 The ministry team must meet with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo one more time to finalize the details, Darmin said.




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