IFAD and EIB launch $125 million project to boost rural incomes and food security in Cambodia

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IFAD and EIB launch $125 million project to boost rural incomes and food security in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, 03 February 2020 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with the Government of Cambodia and the European Investment Bank (EIB), are launching a US$125 million rural development project today that aims to boost incomes and food security for 200,000 families in Cambodia.

In Cambodia, two-thirds of rural families face seasonal food shortages each year. Farmers often lack access to new markets, training and technology, and rural infrastructure is often poor. This leaves rural communities, especially youth, cut-off from business and employment opportunities.

The objective of the Sustainable Assets for Agriculture Markets, Business and Trade project (SAAMBAT) project is to improve livelihoods by better connecting rural communities to markets, technical training and employment opportunities.

“With this project we are focusing on building sustainable and inclusive rural infrastructure, including roads and marketplaces; building rural capacity; and linking rural communities - especially young people - to relevant skills and technologies,” said Kaushik Barua, IFAD Country Director for Cambodia.

“We are grateful to our national partners including the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Rural Development and the rural communities and youth who provided their ideas and feedback to us when we were developing the project. And of course, to the European Investment Bank for investing in this partnership with IFAD,” he added.

SAAMBAT aims to productively employ at least 4,500 rural youth, develop 500 small and medium businesses and train at 25,000 rural value chain actors to use digital technology. Approximately 650 km of rural roads and 75 market facilities will also be built or rehabilitated.  

The project is financed by a $53.3 million loan and $1.2 million grant from IFAD, a $57.6 million loan from EIB and $12.41 million contribution from Cambodia.

“As the European Union’s bank, the EIB is particularly happy to support SAAMBAT and make a direct contribution to improve the quality of life for Cambodians in rural locations. The partnership with the Government of Cambodia and IFAD is an excellent example of how international collaboration can effectively deliver positive and tangible change to rural communities,” said EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell, ahead of today’s start-up workshop where all stakeholders will agree on an implementation plan for the six-year project.

“The many activities under SAAMBAT will create jobs and make communities more resilient, reduce poverty and protect rural communities from negative social and economic changes,” he added.

IFAD began operations in Cambodia in 1996 and has implemented 10 projects, investing more than $256 million, and directly benefitting more than 1.5 million households. Currently four projects are ongoing.

Notes to editors:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

Read more about IFAD’s work in Cambodia



Press release No.: IFAD/04/2020

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$22.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 512 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

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Susan Beccio

Regional Communication Officer, Asia and the Pacific