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France mulls $95M in agri-loans

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€80 million ($95 million) in loans this year from the French government and ADB to develop two projects that support Cambodian agricultural value chains. Post staff

France mulls $95M in agri-loans

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries expects to receive €80 million ($95 million) in loans this year from the French government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to develop two projects that support Cambodian agricultural value chains.

This was revealed by minister Veng Sakhon on April 7, following an in-person meeting to discuss the projects with Ophelie Bourhis, director of Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), the development arm of the French government, held at the ministry.

The London-based NGO Agriculture for Impact defines agricultural value chains as “the flow of products, knowledge and information between smallholder farmers and consumers.

“They offer the opportunity to capture added value at each stage of the production, marketing and consumption process,” it adds.

Sakhon said €50 million, footed by AFD, would be allotted for a project focused on the development of rain-fed agricultural technologies for rubber trees, vegetables and animal-feed crops.

The remaining €30 million, co-financed by AFD and the ADB, would be earmarked for the other project which targets sustainable fisheries management on the seas and seashores, he said.

“We urge the AFD to approve them as soon as possible to carry them out and keep true to the current animal and vegetable production sphere, which is actively involved in the support of family economies, employment opportunities and food security,” Sakhon said.

AFD’s Bourhis said initial evaluations have been progressing “remarkably smoothly”, according to the minister.

“One project is set to be implemented this year, while the other is under review and evaluation, and could be approved this year,” Sakhon said without elaborating.

“We hope the projects will improve the value chain of agricultural products, including animals and vegetables, making them more competitive in terms of quantity, quality and safety through the application of suitable modern agricultural technologies that are resistant to climate change, inclusive and innovative,” he said.

According to the Sakhon, AFD has co-financed a total of €61.5 million for three other projects with the ministry over the past three years.

“CaPFish Aquaculture in Cambodia” is co-financed by the EU with €25 million and concentrates on improving sustainable aquaculture and climate change adaptation, he said.

Another project addresses agro-tourism development and food safety and is backed by €11.5 million from AFD, and a third one centres on the promotion of agricultural value chains and safety measures, and is co-financed with ADB for €25 million, he said.

“I highly appreciate the results of the three projects. They’ve been actively and effectively steering the fisheries sector in the right direction, leading to high productivity as is consistent with strategic plans regarding the development of the industry through a sustainable, inclusive and climate-change resilient approach,” Sakhon said.