IFAD in Cambodia
Since 1996, IFAD has invested US$140.4 million in eight projects in Cambodia, which have mobilized overall investments for a total of US$283.6 million, benefiting 1,204,300 households. IFAD loans support rural and agricultural development and improvement of the livestock subsector. Reducing rural poverty by improving rural livelihoods is the objective of IFAD's efforts to empower Cambodia's poor people to raise their incomes and standards of living.
The IFAD country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP), which covers the period from 2013 to 2018, supports the Government's poverty reduction initiatives.
Through the COSOP, IFAD strives to be a lead agency in piloting innovation and demonstrating techniques and methodologies to support the livelihoods of the rural poor.
The IFAD country programme has three strategic objectives:
- Enable poor smallholders to take advantage of market opportunities
- Increase resilience to climate change and other shocks in poor rural households and communities
- Improve poor households' access to strengthened rural services.
The current COSOP represents a change of emphasis from IFAD's previous work in Cambodia. It advocates making transitions:
- From emphasizing a livelihoods approach to a clearer focus on expanding poor farmers' access to market opportunities
- From promoting decentralization of public services to a broader concept of pro-poor rural service delivery that targets not only government agencies but also civil society and the private sector
- Towards a more explicit focus on the resilience of poor rural households.
To ensure that the focus on resilience explicitly factors in climate change, IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) has allocated a US$15 million grant for risk management and resilience-building activities. IFAD-funded activities in Cambodia target the provinces with the highest rates of poverty and, within those provinces, the poorest people and communities.
The poorest groups include:
- Poor rural households with access to only small areas of land and no other productive assets who are likely to be food insecure and in debt, with little if any access to off-farm employment opportunities
- Landless rural people who are willing to learn skills for livestock raising, off-farm income-generating activities or wage employment
- Women and households headed by women with a large number of dependents
- Other poor rural households such as those in indigenous ethnic minority communities.
The participatory approach towards community development is at the core of IFAD-financed initiatives in the country. It builds the capacity of grass-roots institutions and fosters direct ownership of investment programmes by the people who benefit from them.
IFAD works in partnership with the Government and with multilateral and bilateral agencies and international NGOs in Cambodia. In agreement with the Government, future assistance will target areas where poverty rates are high and where there are opportunities to improve agricultural productivity and develop strategic partnerships with other agencies. In this perspective, future support will be directed at areas where no major externally financed development programmes are ongoing. Potential target areas include the country's more remote border provinces.