Phnom Penh, 6 August 2022 (TDI): The United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken announced a new USAID-led Feed the Future project named “Harvest III” as the food insecurity crisis threatens Southeast Asia.

The new USAID-led Feed the Future project

The project will support Cambodia’s economic growth and food security through private sector engagement by creating better jobs and diversifying diets.

Together with improving the well-being of Cambodians, specifically women, youth, and marginalized populations.

More than 60% of Cambodians reside in rural areas as well as rely on agriculture, fisheries, and forestry for their livelihoods.

Thus, these rural Cambodians are particularly vulnerable to climate shocks, including temperature fluctuations, changes in rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events.

In line with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 45 % of Cambodians reside in moderate or severe food insecurity.

More to this, Harvest III is a five-year, up to $25 million project. It promotes inclusive, sustainable economic growth through modernizing and diversifying Cambodia’s agriculture sector.

Also, assisting farmers improve how they grow and market their produce. Along with connecting them with new buyers and international markets previously inaccessible to rural communities.

Most importantly, the activity will likewise help families build resilience. Especially in light of growing climate threats and the present global food, fertilizer, and fuel crisis.

Harvest III builds on the results of its predecessor. That is, HARVEST II (2017-2022), which generated $28 million in new private sector investments.

In addition, it created more than 2,500 jobs. As well as supporting the development of national agriculture policies to promote market access and improve standards.

Also, it helped develop 140 new agricultural products for domestic and international markets, generating over $75 million of incremental sales.

Since 2010, U.S. agricultural investments in Cambodia through the USAID-led Feed the Future Initiative have assisted 200,000 farmers.

That is, to increase their production and sales. Namely of fruits, vegetables, rice, and fish. The initiative contributed to a 10% reduction in childhood stunting over the last eight years through improved, diversified diets.

All in all, HARVEST III reaffirms the U.S. commitment to improving food security and bolstering economic growth.

Thus, with the assistance of the private sector, promoting climate-smart, sustainable agricultural practices that will improve the lives of rural Cambodians for many years to come.

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