A new national cassava policy is set to boost production and export of Cambodian cassava. Launched by the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday, the landmark national policy runs until 2025.
According to a UNDP’s press release AKP received yesterday, the planting, harvesting, processing and export of cassava is key to securing jobs and livelihoods for thousands of Cambodians and is a vital cash crop for farmers. Cambodia is the fourth largest cassava producer in Asia and the tenth largest globally. Over 12 million tonnes of fresh cassava root was harvested this year and the new policy will boost and diversify growth and exports in the coming years.
Cassava is a tough, hardy crop that can withstand the growing impact of climate change. While many farmers have struggled with more extreme weather in recent years, cassava fares better than many other crops, giving reasonable yields despite more extreme weather events and poor soil conditions.
Scientists are working to transform cassava into a climate smart plant that can absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, produce higher yields of starch and help improve soil quality. Recent studies in Africa show how cassava can help rejuvenate depleted soils. These early breakthroughs bode well for future food security and sustainable development across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“Cassava is key to Cambodia’s socioeconomic development and to reap the full rewards in future, we aim to upgrade the value chain by strengthening capacities and moving quickly to secure emerging market opportunities. The policy will position cassava at the centre of our efforts to develop Cambodia’s agro-industrial sector and aims to enlarge the economic base to help meet the Royal Government of Cambodia’s development goals to 2030 and 2050,” said H.E. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce.
“With the production of 12 million tonnes per year, cassava is an industrial crop which carriers a full potential for farmer livelihood improvement and export. Based on the vision set in the cassava policy, MAFF will work with related stakeholders to address challenges facing this sector in line with the framework of the MAFF’s Agriculture Sector Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023,” said H.E. Mam Amnot, Secretary of State of MAFF.
“Cassava offers good opportunities for Cambodia – especially if it can move up value chains to export processed products such as starch. That requires good contract farming relationship between processors and farmers growing cassava to create consistent and high-quality supply,” said Mr. Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Cambodia.
The new national policy was developed by the government’s cassava working group and approved by the Royal Government of Cambodia on Aug. 14, 2020. The launch of the policy marks the beginning of a new journey in Cambodia’s agribusiness development for inclusive growth, poverty reduction and the realisation of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press