Planning ministry to release 2021 agricultural survey findings early 2023

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Rice farmers in Kampong Speu province in 2019. Hong Menea

The Ministry of Planning will announce the results of the Cambodia Agricultural Survey 2021 (CAS2021) early next year, while a working group will begin the 2022 agricultural survey in early October. The CAS 2020 report showed that 57 per cent of household agricultural holdings are employed in family farming.

On September 22, the government released the CAS2020 report, which summarised the results of that year’s survey. The surveys are carried out to close the data gap in the agricultural field in low- and middle-income countries.

CAS2020 was jointly conducted by the National Institute of Statistics (NIS), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, with technical support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Planning minister Chhay Thorn said the holdings that were engaged in agricultural production could be divided into four geographical areas: 43 per cent in the lowlands, 35 per cent in the Tonle Sap Lake zone, 15 per cent in the plateau zone and seven per cent in coastal regions.

He added that household consumption accounted for about 61 per cent of the produce, with the remainder offered for sale.

Thorn said about 94 per cent reported growing crops, while 82 per cent raised livestock, poultry or insects. About 27 per cent were involved in fisheries activities, with six per cent pursuing aquaculture.

“The first census was conducted in 2013. Annual surveys have been carried out since 2019 to ensure accurate agricultural statistics,” he said.

Thorn added that the results of the survey would meet the needs of multiple institutions, especially those involved in developing policies for environmental and socio-economic development. The data was particularly important in devising an agricultural development policy.

NIS director-general Hang Lina told The Post that the ministry has continuously updated the results.

“We have just published the results of CAS 2020. We have already prepared the results of the 2021 survey, but have not yet released them,” she said.

Lina said the methodology of the survey remains unchanged from year to year, in order to ensure that year-on-year comparisons can be easily made.

FAO representative Rebekah Bell said her organisation would continue to assist Cambodian officials in conducting the surveys, which are essential for development in the sector.

“The data we have produced in the past is very important in shaping a response impact of Covid-19 on agriculture. The data accurately described the Kingdom’s agriculture, from family scale farming to large-scale enterprises,” she said.

Agriculture ministry secretary of state Chan Chesta said that preparing an agricultural development plan would be all but impossible without the date the survey provided.

He expected that the results of the latest agricultural survey would contribute to policy development that met real-world requirements.

“We are always ready for inter-ministerial cooperation, and are more than happy to assist the planning ministry with any input they may need,” he said.

The CAS2020 report estimated that 40 per cent of the agricultural households had experienced some form of shock during the last 12 months, whether from natural disasters, insect infestations or disease.

The findings said 12 per cent reported that their agricultural activities had been impacted in some way by Covid-19.

“Due to the timing of the reference period [from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020], it is expected that a much greater impact from the pandemic will be reported in the CAS 2021 results,” it added.