US and Cambodia Launch $25m Program to Bolster Agriculture

The US and Cambodian governments have united to launch the $25 million Harvest III project that aims to create more opportunities in the agriculture sector.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sokhon at launch Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III ceremony. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sokhon at launch Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III ceremony. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The US and Cambodian governments on Tuesday launched a $25 million project that aims to promote sustainable, broad based economic growth by increasing diversification and competitiveness in the agricultural sector.

In a ceremony attended by US Ambassador Patrick Murphy and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon, Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III - also known as Harvest III - is a five-year activity funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Harvest III was announced during the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken when he was in Cambodia last week for the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM).

US Ambassador Patrick Murphy and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sokhon, at Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III launch event. Kiripost/Siv Channa
US Ambassador Patrick Murphy and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sokhon, at Feed the Future Cambodia Harvest III launch event. Kiripost/Siv Channa
“The US Government has invested nearly $100 million over the past decade to improve both nutrition and family incomes in Cambodia by strengthening the country’s agriculture sector,” Murphy said in a statement.

“In this global food crisis, it is critical that Cambodia strengthens its food security and Harvest III reflects the US government’s commitment towards this goal,” Murphy said.

Harvest III will work with agriculture cooperatives, technology companies, financial institutions and other stakeholders to develop a skilled workforce, create jobs, and capture market opportunities in the agriculture sector by working with the private sector, the statement said.

Harvest III will provide grant award amounts anticipated to range from $50,000 to $150,000, depending on the size of the enterprise and expected results for its first Financial Solutions Grant Program.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Murphy said the initiative, which was launched in 2010, is to address global hunger and food insecurity. He added that under the project the US has invested in Cambodia’s agricultural sector to improve nutrition and strengthen livelihoods.

“[It] feels like we have the moment and we’re steaming full ahead,” Murphy said.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon urged close cooperation when implementing the project.

“I’d like to suggest that for the purpose of this program to be implemented highly effectively, I request there is a close cooperation between USAID and specialized departments under the Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries in creating action plans and implementation, to identify and select firms, enterprises, and agricultural communities or targeted farmers that would benefit from this program,” Sakhon said.

With this five-year program of combined collaboration, USAID expects to invest $38 million in the private sector, $15 million in agriculture-related financing, $100 million in sales at farms and firms, and 3,200 jobs.