AFD provides $1.8m grant to protect rubber sector in Cambodia

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Cambodian General Directorate of Rubber on Friday signed an agreement for a $1.8 million (1.5 million euro) regional grant to anticipate the possible effects of climate change and agricultural labour scarcity within the rubber industry in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia which consists of Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and the Philippines produces 73% of the world’s natural rubber.

However, its cultivation is threatened by two major changes: global warming, which could affect its cultivation conditions, and the increasing scarcity of agricultural labour.

In a statement, AFD said that in response it is financing the regional FORSEA project (Forecasting the impacts of climate change and workforce availability on natural Rubber in South-East Asia) with the 1.5 million euro grant to the Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD).

It will be implemented in Cambodia, in conjunction with the General Directorate of Rubber and the Rubber Research Institute of Cambodia (IRCC), and also in Thailand and Vietnam. Its objective is to contribute to the adaptation of these countries to the challenges of the sector by documenting the consequences (technical, social and economic) of these changes and by specifying the options for adapting more effectively. The data will be shared with stakeholders in the sector at different decision-making levels.

The statement said AFD has been supporting the rubber sector in Cambodia since 1999, initially on the theme of family rubber farming, which helps support small farms. Today, this support has expanded and AFD is currently supporting a sustainable rubber production project implemented by WWF and a project to strengthen the productivity and quality of the sector with the General Directorate of Rubber.

AFD hopes to continue its support to this sector in the coming years.

“We are delighted to be able to renew our support in Cambodia. This project is in line with the support we have been providing. It is now essential to invest in climate adaptation in this key sector of activity in Cambodia, which provides income for a large part of the rural population. This project also gives us the opportunity to continue our quality collaboration with CIRAD, AFD’s long-term partner in Cambodia on projects supporting rubber systems,” Ophélie Bourhis, director of AFD Cambodia, said.

“In recent years, the Cambodian rubber sector has significantly developed and greatly contributed to the socio-economic development of the nation as well as to the economy of rural rubber farmers. These achievements are inseparable from the support of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which is the only development partner that has supported the rubber sector in Cambodia over the past 20 years, said Him Aun, director of the General Directorate of Rubber.

“The General Department of Rubber is very delighted to be signing the FORSEA project today, and to continue a long-standing cooperation with AFD and CIRAD towards a more resilient and sustainable rubber value chain in Cambodia,” he added.

“CIRAD has historically participated in AFD’s main actions concerning the rubber sector in Cambodia. With the FOSEA project, CIRAD is pursuing its commitment to working to improve the living conditions of rubber producers in Southeast Asia alongside AFD and national rubber research and development partners, particularly in Cambodia, and thus ensure the sustainability of the sector,”  Dr Eric Gohet, CIRAD’s FORSEA project coordinator, said.


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