China-Cambodia-UNDP Trilateral Cooperation on Cassava
Cambodia has identified agriculture as the top priority for socio-economic development. Even though Cassava has become the second largest agricultural crop in terms of income, employment, hectares cultivated, and exports, there is very little technical assistance support provided to the sector. Lack of technical support is potentially serious considering cassava cultivation could have serious nutrient depletion and other ecological effects on the soil.
To improve sustainable cassava production, UNDP has since 2011 worked with China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture to help small processors and exporters of cassava move up the value chain, increase their revenue and cassava export, and create jobs in the cassava sector. Upon project completion in March 2015, China, Cambodia and UNDP have leveraged comparative strengths to develop together project modalities, produce local needs and environmental assessments, and organize joint missions to match cassava import/export needs. As a bridge between China and Cambodia, this South-South cooperation pilot project has been crucial for farmers to draw on China’s comprehensive experience in cassava cultivation, and gradually address production, market and ultimately poverty challenges. The trilateral cooperation project, as part of a wider programme to improve cassava productivity whilst protecting soil quality in Cambodia, also aimed at promoting direct export of processed cassava to China.
The benefits from the cooperation between China-Cambodia-UNDP are:
- Assessed environmental impact of land degradation and pollution on cassava and integrated lessons learned for building the capacity and knowledge of the Royal University of Agriculture
- Designed and developed training materials for farmers and processors/traders
- Conducted Training of Trainers sessions for 114 cassava farmers and processors
- Conducted a business visit to China to enhance contacts for import/export purposes
- Developed a guidelines/procedure handbook for exporting cassava to China
- Helped increased business connectivity between China and Cambodia.
Upon completion, MOFCOM and UNDP conducted a joint monitoring mission to Cambodia to assess project progress together with direct beneficiaries. The trilateral cooperation project has helped increase Cambodian cassava export volume to China, improve quality of Cassava and enhance production to make Cambodian cassava more sustainable.