Intel technology helps small farmers support Cambodia's export goals
20 August 2014
Rome 21 August 2014 – A new project launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Intel Corporation is providing smallholder farmers in the Kingdom of Cambodia simple technologies that can help the country reach its goal of becoming the next major rice exporter in the global market.
Despite being a low-income country, Cambodia recently set an ambitious target: one million tonnes of milled rice for export by the end of 2015. It means the country will have to almost triple its exports of milled rice.
"The Intel and IFAD approach in Cambodia not only helps the country's economy, but it can transform its rural communities," said Hoonae Kim, IFAD Director of the Asia and the Pacific Division. "In partnerships such as this, we see all of the essential elements come together to optimize economic opportunities for rural communities."
The project brings together Intel's software and technology together with IFAD's agricultural expertise and know-how. The first trial took place this week in Kandal Province in the southeast of Cambodia.
Agriculture remains the main source of income for most of the Cambodian population, with about 77 per cent living in rural areas. It accounts for 36 per cent of the country's GDP, with rice as the main staple food. In 2013, Cambodia was the world's fifth-largest exporter of rice and the second-biggest exporter of premium jasmine rice. Sales of milled rice abroad reached 378,856 tons. But while exports are on the rise, the country's agriculture continues to struggle, as many of its small farmers use outdated methods, chemical pesticides, and cheap or poor-quality seeds.
The new project provides smallholder farmers a step-by-step software programme to analyse soil, determine fertiliser requirements, advise on best seeds and deal with pests and diseases. The people trained to use the software are known as "entrepreneurs". The software gives them immediate access to a pool of specialists and all the knowledge they need is at their fingertips. The software comes from Grameen Intel Social Business, which was set up by Intel Corporation and the Grameen Trust to respond to global social problems. Similar software is being used in India, where it has helped small farmers increase their production by around 300 per cent.
"We use the IT system to bring the connection between the farmer and the expertise people who are at the capital level," said Sakphouseth Meng, IFAD Country Programme Officer.
In the next few months the project will be launched in 500 locations, reaching more than 25,000 farming families in rural Cambodia.
Since 1996 IFAD has financed seven projects in Cambodia for a total value of US$201.4 million.
Press release No.: IFAD/53/2014
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (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$15.8 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 430 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub