A new partnership between the US Agency for International Development Credit Authority (DCA) and three local microfinance institutions (MFIs) will see the creation of a new $15-million fund to tackle the lack of financing opportunities the agricultural sector faces in Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Thom and Pursat provinces.
The seven-year programme is a collaboration between the DCA and Cambodian MFIs AMK Microfinance Institution, LOLC Cambodia and RMA Financial Services Cambodia. “These loans will expand agribusiness investment to drive economic growth, job creation and sales of agricultural commodities,” the official statement from the US Embassy in Phnom Penh reads.
Polly Dunford, the director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Cambodia, said the fund will play a key role in aiding the development of the country’s agricultural sector, an industry essential to Cambodia’s economic growth. “We are proud to encourage private sector lending in Cambodia’s agriculture sector upon which 70 percent of the population depends,” she said. “We are confident that increasing access to credit in the agriculture sector will support Cambodia’s tremendous economic growth and will have a positive impact on all Cambodians – whether in rural or urban areas.”
Saing Ngorn, the CEO of RMA Cambodia, said: “Farmers in one of these provinces can now take out a lease with our company on any agricultural machinery, like tractors, for example. If they face any problems repaying the loan due to low agricultural fields, the fund can be used to help them out.”
Using a variety of programmes that target small farmers and low-income families, USAID has supported the agriculture and food security sectors in the four provinces that surround the Tonle Sap Lake since 2011.