(Above) Improved livestock and (below) crops for small farmers in the Tonle Sap Lake area.
SMEC, a member of Surbana Jurong Group, is helping transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor households in areas around the Tonle Sap, through the Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development Project (TSSD). Since 2018, SMEC’s role is to provide support as the Project Implementation Consultant (PIC) to the executing and implementing agencies in the government.
The TSSD is designed to foster community-driven infrastructure and capacity development and has evolved to help farmers with disaster risk reduction, climate resilience, and a greater focus on value chains and market strengthening. It began in 2010 in five provinces before expanding to another seven in 2018. The TSSD now covers 270 communes with 630,000 households.
Infrastructural and economic improvements
The project has supported improvements in rural infrastructure and targeted the rehabilitation and upgrading of over 850 km of roads as well as the improvement of irrigation structures over 11,000 hectares.
Smallholder farmers are organised into Livelihood Improvement Groups, each consisting of up to 30 households. Funds, pooled from the USD$240 grant provided per household, help to support investments in growing livestock, rice, and cash crops and the establishment of small businesses.
Two agriculture stations have been rehabilitated and 37 rice seed producer groups created to improve the mechanisms for rice seed production. Over 9,000 tonnes of certified rice seeds have been produced, with a greater focus on in-demand climate-resilient varieties. Over 2,500 on-farm demonstrations have been carried out to train farmers as well.
The strategy has shifted lately to provide market support for farmers. A total of 448 market improvement groups were set up for farmers to connect them with agri-business enterprises, buyers and traders.
Said Mr David Moles, Team Leader of the SMEC PIC team, “SMEC is proud to be involved in implementing a very significant project that seeks to make a big difference in the lives of so many people. We are confident the mechanisms developed and infrastructure interventions made under the TSSD will have a lasting impact on the target communities in the years ahead.”
The TSSD, set to conclude in December 2022, is co-financed by the Asian Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Government of Finland, and the Royal Government of Cambodia. SMEC has operated in Cambodia since 1964 and has been involved in the transport, water, environment, energy and education, governance, and government advisory sectors.
David Moles | Team Leader Cambodia
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